Articles

Visit Our Articles Archive

At Stange Law Firm, PC, we are committed to helping our clients understand all aspects of family law. By providing numerous articles on our website, we equip our clients with the knowledge they need to make prudent, informed decisions.  You can also view our archive for previous articles not listed below.

 

Need-to-Know Information

Our law firm is dedicated to keeping you up to date with valuable information. The articles below cover a wide variety of topics, and we hope that they provide you with a broad understanding of the family law issues that you are dealing with.

Divorce

Divorce can be a long and complicated process – and if you are like most people, you probably have lots of questions. These articles address many different areas of divorce, including tips for handling the stresses and problems that may arise during the process.

Causes of Divorce

Study finds divorce contagious

A new study finds divorce contagious in social networks. The idea is based on the theory of social contagion or the spread of behavior or emotion through a group. This is the case among those getting a divorce in which the mere idea of it can spread like a virus. According to James H. Fowler , a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, this risk of divorce not only can spread to friends and family but it can also affect relationships at least two degrees away from the original couple splitting up. This means that

READ MORE

New Research on what indicators lead to divorce

Believe it or not, divorce is considered to be a major health problem. While doctors can predict the risk for major health issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart attack, they now are trying to predict the risk for divorce which accounts for 50 percent of U.S. marriages. The breakdown of a marriage can play havoc on one’s emotional and physical health. People in troubled relationships are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and high blood pressure. Historically, the medical profession has had little advice for preventing divorce but now there is plenty of new research out that helps

READ MORE

Divorce Study: Arguing about Money is the Top Predictor of Divorce

It is true that having financial arguments early in a marriage may predict divorce. According to Sonya Britt, a Kansas State University researcher, arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce. Her research found that couples who argue about money early in their relationship were at greater risk for divorce, regardless of their income, debt or net worth. “Arguments about money (are) by far the top predictor of divorce,” she said. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money -for both men and women.” “Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce’ is the title of the

READ MORE

How a costly wedding could lead to divorce

An amazing eight in 10 couples, who divorce within five years, cite high wedding costs as a factor in their divorce. According to a recent study, many couples come into marriage with large student loans and when the cost of a lavish wedding is added, they start their married life deep in debt. This financial burden imposes a huge strain on the relationship and often crippling long-term implications. The day after the wedding with all the trappings–a multitude of guests, a reception with a live band, an open bar, a wedding feast, etc.–reality sets in. Unless the parents foot the

READ MORE

Children and Divorce

How to Teach Your Children the Value of Organization

Want your children to develop important organizational skills in their formative years? You can aid in the development of this skill set through a slew of home management and cleaning tasks. Give your children increased responsibilities around the house, like small chores that contribute toward your home’s overall composition and structure. Organizational skills are beneficial for a tidy space, but also for the cognitive development of your children. Here are some benefits of orderliness and tips for how you can help your children develop strong, organizational habits: Know the Importance of Organization It’s vital your children learn the practice of

READ MORE

Children & Divorce: 3 Bonding Activities That Can Help Ease Tension

Many children experience the stress of a divorce. Divorcestatistics.org reports that 40 percent of U.S. couples that have children file for divorce. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s normal for children to have questions and experience anxiety and panic during this time. When a man finds himself in a divorce, his relationship with his children might suffer if he is living apart from his kids or spending limited time with them. However, a divorce does not mean that fathers can’t spend quality time with their kids. These three activities will help dads establish bonding time while helping children cope with

READ MORE

Childcare Checklist: What to Share with the Babysitter

As a parent, it can be difficult to leave the house on your own, as it requires you to hand over the reins of childcare responsibility. Whether it’s a daily sitter so you can go to work, a weekly gig, so you can have a date night, or just a special once-in-a-while need, leaving your kid with a babysitter is a tough task. Once you’ve found a good one you trust, make sure she is has all the necessary knowledge and tools to keep your child’s safety and well-being top of mind. Here is a checklist of what you should

READ MORE

Behind the Wheel: 3 Tips on How to Raise Ready, Responsible Teen Drivers

This may be hard to believe, but that itty-bitty baby you once held in your arms is now a teenager who is now chomping at the bit to learn how to drive. If the idea of your son or daughter taking the wheel concerns you, it’s totally understandable — you have undoubtedly seen the statistics indicating how teens are more likely to be involved in car accidents. As the CDC notes, young drivers, ages 15-24, make up only 14 percent of the total U.S. population, yet account for 30 percent of the total costs related to motor vehicle injuries. Sadly,

READ MORE

6 Strategies for Raising Responsible Kids

Raising responsible kids requires a willing parent, a cooperative child and an unlimited supply of patience and understanding. Through each stage of a child’s development, parents should gently nudge children to make decisions that will foster responsibility. Here are six ways you can help foster your child’s independence and teach him or her how to act responsibly: Start young Don’t expect your teenager to act responsibly if it isn’t something you’ve emphasized since early childhood. The key to fostering responsibility in children is to start young. When a child is able to understand conversations and directions, start molding him or

READ MORE

5 Tips for Hosting a Fun and Successful Play Date

“Mom, can Jack come over to play?” If you are the mom of a little human over the age of 3 or so, you have probably heard this type of question dozens of times. Most kiddos like playing with their friends outside of preschool or elementary school, and so it’s pretty common to have young kids over to your home and vice versa. However, as much as you’d like to give your pint-sized guest and your child some markers and paper, a pile of LEGOs and maybe some Play-Doh and let them go at it, a successful play date often

READ MORE

5 Things Single Parents Can Do to Boost Home Security

As a single parent, you probably feel like you have the weight of the entire world on your shoulders at times. Playing the dual roles of mom and dad, you are the sole breadwinner for your family, as well as the main homework helper, chauffeur, referee and household nurse.You may feel especially vulnerable at night, when you are home alone with your kids. Every neighborhood noise somehow seems scarier and you may feel concerned for your safety and that of your kids. Fortunately, there are a number of tangible steps that you can take to help boost the security of

READ MORE

4 Key Skills to Teach Your Kids at an Early Age

When we think of childhood, we often consider it to be a magical and carefree time, free of responsibility. While it is important for kids to have plenty of time to play and use their imaginations, childhood is also a practice round of sorts for the real world. In order to help kids be as ready as possible for adulthood, it’s important for parents to teach young kiddos a variety of life skills. Here are four skills that will serve kids well as they grow older: Learning to Manage Time You probably know at least one adult who has no

READ MORE

3 Core Values to Help Your Child Thrive

As a parent, you have the privilege to pass on everything you’ve learned about life to your child. You are a role model for your child and they will learn by your example how they can exercise self-sufficiency, empathy, patience, perseverance and creativity. Through guidance and knowledge, your child will have more accessibility and a greater comprehension of their talents and how they can be utilized.Set your children up for success by teaching them the importance of these fundamental aspects of life: Health & Fitness Fitness is a valuable skill that your child should understand. It’s important that kids know

READ MORE

Providing The Guardian Ad Litem Information

In child custody litigation, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is often appointed. The requirements can certainly vary by jurisdiction. However, when there are allegations of abuse and neglect, a guardian ad litem is normally necessary. When a court appoints a guardian ad litem, the exactness in terms of how this can work can vary based on the court. It can also change based on the facts. It can also changed based on the preferences of the guardian ad litem and the judge. But a guardian ad litem is normally appointed to investigate and provide a recommendation to the family court

READ MORE

Making the Move: Child Relocation Considerations in Missouri

While the struggle to determine child custody in marital dissolution cases is often difficult, the question of whether to allow child relocation can be even more painful and delicate. Typically both parents have rights in child relocation disputes in Missouri regardless of who has physical custody. Courts also consider if relocation would be in the child’s best interests. This article will discuss the steps a relocating parent should take in Missouri to reduce the issues that may occur with a move. Pains of Relocation It is not uncommon for a custodial parent to have to pick up and move to

READ MORE

Massachusetts Bill Proposes to Ban Sex during Divorce to Help Protect Children

If you are in a divorce and are living with children in Massachusetts, having sex at home or dating could soon be banned until all divorce proceedings are finalized, pending the passage of a new bill. You would first need to have a judge sign-off an approval if you want to have sex. Below is how the proposed legislation reads: In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall no conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues

READ MORE

International Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month, January 2014

In January, we observe International Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month. This month was chosen to recognize the impact divorce has on children because more divorces are initiated in January than any other month. The ultimate goal is to prevent a negative impact on children before, during and after separation or divorce. Divorce is difficult and developing a co-parenting relationship with an ex-spouse isn’t easy. In essence, it is moving from the emotional relationship of your past marriage and establishing a more rational, businesslike relationship to support your children’s needs. It is sometimes helpful to have some children’s books about divorce or

READ MORE

Good Parenting Practices: Ways to Model Behavior for Children

Parents, we’ve all been there. We expect perfect behavior from our children, yet we don’t always model it. From the casual slip of a four-letter word to staying up late watching TV, our kids pick up on our behavior more than we realize. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, it’s even more important to model good behavior and provide your kids with a stable environment and consistent parenting. Here are ways to teach your kids manners, etiquette and respectful behavior for a handful of everyday situations, from dining out to acts of kindness. Restaurant Manners Taking small kids

READ MORE

Finances During Divorce

Bank Statements in Divorce

During a divorce, courts may look at a lot of information and evidence in order to ensure that people receive a just result when the divorce is finalized. Bank statements often become an important piece of information to look at. In some cases, courts may order that the parties voluntarily exchange bank statements. In other cases, the parties may agree to exchange them by consent. There are other cases where the parties may issue requests for production upon each other to produce the bank statements. Some parties going through a divorce may have joint bank accounts, while other parties may

READ MORE

7 Steps to Earn Financial Freedom

Do you have a financial plan? How about a budget? Do you continually invest in your own savings account? If your answer is no to any or all of the questions above, don’t panic. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average American puts less than 5 percent into his or her savings, and many Americans don’t have a savings account at all. If you’re battling overwhelming debt, struggling to control your spending, or just don’t know where to begin, there is a road map to financial freedom. Just follow these steps. Create a Budget You can’t save or

READ MORE

Protecting Your Finances and Credit During a Missouri Divorce

Concerns over finances are often a root cause of marital discord. When you combine financial worries with a divorce, it can be a recipe for heartaches as well as headaches. Joint finances can be unwound, but there are certain important steps to take to protect your financial future during a contested Missouri divorce. Take an honest look at your financial picture. Before making any decisions about your finances in the initial stages of your divorce, you have to have a clear understanding of your complete financial circumstances. Itemize all of your accounts, including: Bank accounts – checking and savings Investment

READ MORE

Financial habits between married and divorced people and how they differ

Personal financial habits factor into the viability of long-term relationships. A recent survey conducted by Credit.com survey, Marriage, Divorce & Credit, asked 1,061 consumers, about half married and half divorced, questions about their relationships and finances. The survey respondents had different financial, employment, racial and educational backgrounds, although the report was qualified as not necessarily representative of the US population as a whole. However, some interesting concepts and differences about marriage, divorce and money stood out. Teamwork… Only 5% of divorced respondents said that money was the sole reason they got divorced, but 51% said that financial differences contributed to

READ MORE

Looking for a Financial Planner? Consider This…

Choosing a financial planner is an important step in taking charge of your finances and planning for the future. Building a comprehensive financial plan is an essential part of ensuring your fiscal stability, but many Americans fail to do it. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards’ Household Financial Planning Survey found that only a little more than a third of the fiscal decision makers in American homes have created a comprehensive financial plan, and only 35 percent have planned for an emergency. If you have decided to take control of your finances, here’s a look at what you should look

READ MORE

High Asset Divorce

The story of Google’s Co-founder and His Wife

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and his wife, Anne Wojcicki, a genetic-testing entrepreneur and co-founder of 23andMe, have separated and their lives are dissected in a fascinating article, O. K., Glass: Make Google Eyes, written by Vanessa Grigoriadis.The story begins when Brin and Wojcicki met in 1998. Brin was a Stanford computer-science graduate student when he moved off campus with classmate, Larry Page, to set up a search-engine company in Wojcicki’s sister Susan’s garage. This was the start of Google.Wojcicki was a high-energy, athletic, popular Yale graduate, who majored in biology. Wojcicki’s father was chairman of Stanford’s physics department and

READ MORE

What Is The Best Option?

What Are Domestic Asset Protection Trusts? Domestic Asset Protections Trusts (“DAPTs”) are irrevocable trusts that can be established in states that have special laws for this very specific type of trust. DAPTs allow the settler of the trust to be a discretionary beneficiary while still protecting the trust’s assets from the settlor’s creditors.1 In reality DAPTs are not solely a tool for protecting your assets during divorce, but have been a way for wealthy families and individuals to shield their assets from creditors.2 This type of trust can be a useful tool in assisting your clients in protecting their assets.

READ MORE

Russian billionaire’s contentious divorce spilling over to US as Sochi Winter Olympics play out

Vladimir Potanin, a billionaire who helped bankroll much of the Winter Olympics including an entire ski resort in Sochi, is involved in a highly contentious divorce that is spilling over to the US.According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Potanin, 53 and father of three children, has a $13.5 billion fortune. Prior to filing for divorce, he joined the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge initiative last year to donate most of his wealth to charity. His assets include a 30% stake in Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium. Potanin’s spurned wife, Natalia Potanina, who was

READ MORE

The important roles of financial experts in a high-asset divorce

This article looks at the important roles played by forensic accountants and valuation experts in divorce. A couple that has a large marital estate is, almost by definition, more likely to run into complex problems and challenges when they try to divide that estate during divorce. The complexity of many high-asset divorces means that there is often plenty of room for significant financial considerations to either be overlooked, misrepresented, or misunderstood. For these reasons, as Forbes points out, anybody going through a high-asset divorce should be prepared to seek the advice of financial experts, specifically valuation experts and forensic accountants,

READ MORE

What to expect in a high-asset or complex Missouri divorce

A complex divorce requires certain actions that are not always applicable in every divorce. Divorce can be challenging no matter the income bracket or assets of those involved. A high-asset divorce, however, may require certain considerations and actions that do not apply in all divorce cases. Professional degrees, professional practices, business ownership, retirement assets and real estate can require more negotiation and a greater complexity in a division of assets than may be needed otherwise. A couple need not be on “The Forbes 400” richest people in America list for complex divorce considerations to be relevant. Couples who have worked

READ MORE

Tips for Divorce

Do Character Witnesses Matter in Family Law Cases?

Expert witnesses play a significant part in most divorce and family law cases, which leads people to discuss the significance in character witnesses. Do they help? This question leads to an important and necessary discussion. It’s very common that often parties come to their divorce or family law attorney with a character witness already in mind. In a divorce case, a character witness may be a party who testifies about the moral fitness or personal qualities of a party to a divorce. But in some jurisdictions, a character witness in a divorce case cannot be a family member. Rather, the

READ MORE

Navigation Tips for the Road to Independence

Nobody ever said starting a new chapter was going to be easy. Whether you’re making changes in your personal or professional life, these smart tips can help you rewrite your story. Read on for ways to navigate the road to independence. Be a Financial Pro Need help managing your money and your budget? From the makers of Turbotax and Quicken, Intuit’s Mint app can help you with money management, bill pay, budgeting and more. The tool even allows you to effortlessly monitor your credit score from your personal devices or smartphone. This free app is easy to set up, and

READ MORE

Prioritizing what is important

Issues in a Divorce and Family Law Matter In divorce, there can be many substantive issues in play for each of the parties. In a divorce for example, parties could potentially have issues like custody, child support and property and debt division to work through. These can be tough, but critical issues that have to be settled because of their importance to the parties. But in order to settle a divorce or family law matter, an agreement on all these substantive issues have to be reached for the case to finish. This can be tough for a lot of parties

READ MORE

Divorce Does Not Need To Be An Emotional Rollercoaster

Thousands upon thousands of words of case law have been written regulating the specifics of divorce, but they may not effect the emotions attached to negotiating the end of your marriage. The psychological and emotion components of the process are what make a divorce a nightmare. Grief, fear, and anger all mix to make even the easiest of decisions a battle. Before you can have a successful and amiable separation, you need to understand your own mind and heart. Stages Of Grief You may have heard this before, but it is worth repeating. No matter how bad your marriage may

READ MORE

Breaking the News to Mom & Dad and the In-Laws That You are Divorcing

Maybe your parents and in-laws have suspected that all is not right with your marriage. Maybe they have offered advice along the way. Now, no matter what, the decision is official and it’s time to break the unpleasant news that you are divorcing. Hopefully, they will accept the news gracefully and offer support and understanding, but the prospect of divorce facing one of their offspring may trigger unpleasant emotions including finger-pointing about “what went wrong”. Depending on your relationship with your spouse or soon-to-be ex, you may wish to break the news together or separately and to tell both parents

READ MORE

4 Ways to Reduce Stress While You’re Going Through a Lawsuit

As a working parent, you probably already feel like you spend most days trying to keep as many figurative balls in the air as possible. Balancing the needs of your family while keeping your boss and clients happy can be tricky under the best of circumstances. Add the stresses of a pending family law case, and you might feel like your already-full schedule is rapidly reaching its breaking point. The following four tips can help cut down on stress while balancing work, family and a lawsuit: 1. Be sure you have great legal counsel One of the best ways to

READ MORE

3 Essential Do’s for Surviving a Divorce

Who is that strange man in your bed? No, you didn’t get drunk last night and have a one night stand with a stranger. That’s your husband. Your husband who’s now a stranger, and it seems like you’re just roommates. You’re heading toward a divorce and have been for years — and you both know it. Work through the toughest part of splitting up and start a new beginning with the following three tips. Reality Divorce isn’t an idyllic solution for just opening yourself up to singlehood to date new people. Don’t fall for how television shows glorify divorce. In

READ MORE

Healthy Mindsets That Will Keep You Sane During a Divorce

When the wounds are too deep for reconciliation and the only alternative is divorce, it’s vital you care of yourself, both emotionally and financially. If you’re moving forward with a divorce and everything seems off-kilter, follow these healthy mindsets to help get your life in order. A Different Relationship Just because you are divorcing does not mean the relationship is gone. Putting an “ex” in front of your spouse’s title does not mean he or she will disappear from your life forever. As you end your married relationship, a new divorced relationship is born, especially if you have kids together.

READ MORE

Why Can’t An Attorney Tell Me What’s Going To Happen With My Case On The Phone?

It’s an every day occurrence at most law firms.  The phone rings from a potential client with an urgent question.  They may have just found out that there spouse is filing for divorce.  They might have just found out that their spouse is cheating and they want to know is going to happen.  The possibilities are really endless. But no matter the situation, the questions usually end up going in one direction.  The potential family law client wants an answer to what’s going to happen.  They want certainty.  They want clarity.  They probably just want some peace of mind.  And

READ MORE

Don’t let your divorce take over your life

A Divorce is an Emotional Rollercoaster Going through a divorce can be one of the hardest experiences any person can go through. It gets scary when things like the future become uncertain, especially when you thought you had it all figured out. Not only can the future become questionable but the present can become uncertain as well. When you’re feeling so many different emotions at once like pain, distress, anger and worry, it can overwhelm you and make it hard to go about your usual everyday routine. Questions that will probably arise right away are things like, “What will end

READ MORE

The Power of Confidence in Divorce

Having confidence during the divorce process is a powerful ingredient for success. When you are prepared for success, it shows. It shows in your body language. It shows in your ability to adapt quickly and for the good. It shows in the teamwork you have developed with your attorney and other professionals. But most of all, it shows that you are in charge of your destiny and are confident you will succeed. “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation,” to quote Arthur Ashe. Preparation is hard work, but it is worth it. Closing

READ MORE

Why many wait until January to file for divorce in Missouri

January has the distinction of being the month when courts receive the highest number of divorce filings across the country and in Missouri. The holidays are over and many couples decide they just cannot spend another year together. Going through a divorce during the holidays also puts a strain on a family and children that most couples seek to avoid. There are several benefits to waiting to file for a St. Louis divorce in the New Year after the rush of the holidays is over, such as buying more time to cool emotions and put together a plan. Emotional impact

READ MORE

The Numbing Effect of Divorce

Divorce is one of the hardest experiences you may encounter in life . You may feel like a failure. You may feel rejected. You may feel betrayed. You may feel everything is turned upside down…and more. To counter these unpleasant feelings, the first thought is to immerse yourself in things that make you feel better, even for a second-food, shopping, TV, Internet, alcohol-and the list goes on. Brené Brown contends in Daring Greatly, “We numb the pain that comes from feeling inadequate and “less than”. However, when we numb the pain of one emotion we numb everything. We can’t selectively

READ MORE

Helpful Tips for a Happy Mother’s Day for Divorced Moms

Mothers play a critical role in the upbringing of their children-from the time the baby is born to the time they learn how to drive and leave home. Although having two parents is ideal, a mother sometimes finds herself playing both the role of the mother and father. Despite this, single mothers are capable of raising loving, respectable and confident children. As a single mother, you may be feeling overwhelmed, having to plan your own Mother’s Day. With half of all marriages ending in divorce each year, you are not alone with the task of making this special day memorable.

READ MORE

Will a divorce fix everything?

Marriage Ending in a Divorce Unfortunately, in many marriages, things don’t always work out perfectly. Sometimes there’s a lot of fighting and bickering which raises tension levels to the extreme. In marriages with children, the children can feel as if they are in the middle of a bad situation between their parents which could cause them any physical trauma. The thought process of many is that when things get this bad, it is often better to separate or get a divorce. They think that by separating and divorcing, they can then go their separate ways and each live their own

READ MORE

Telling children about divorce: Strategies for parents

There are several strategies parents should use while telling their children about their plans to get a divorce. Divorce can be a highly emotional, logistically difficult process for many in Missouri, especially those with children. Not only do parents getting a divorce process worry about having enough time with their children after the divorce is finalized, but they may also have concerns about how their children will cope once they tell them about their plans to end their marriage. Here are some helpful strategies divorcing parents might want to try when they break the news to their children. Tips for

READ MORE

Tips for your Divorce Case

Risks Of Bringing Friends

Nothing in life is without risk and divorce is no exception. During a stressful time it’s understandable that people want the support of friends and family members who they have relied on throughout the course of their life. This often leads to men or women bringing friends or family to their initial consultation with a divorce lawyer. While friends and family often mean well in such situations, there are issues that need to be considered. First of all, it could be argued that by bringing someone into the consultation, attorney-client privilege is being waived. Another potential issue is that the

READ MORE

What’s A Court Docket And How Do They Work?

What Is A Court Docket in Divorce & Family Law Cases? If you are going through a divorce or are involved in another family law matter such as a child custody proceeding or support modification, you will find yourself on a docket. What does this mean? If you’re unsure you’re far from alone. In general, a docket is where there are multiple cases set at the exact same time, and the cases could involve a wide range of issues. Cases could be on a docket in order to obtain a simple status update, set for pre-trial or settlement conference, trial

READ MORE

Special Process Servers | Divorce and Family Law | SLF

An important first step in most divorce or family law matters is one party serves the other party the summons and initial pleadings in the case. The exception is where the non-filing party waives service and accepts the summons without being served. Service occurs when the case is filed with the court. The court then prepares a summons to go with the initial pleadings. If the parties do not request a special process server (also known as a private process server), the summons and pleadings are served by the county sheriff. The county sheriff can often effectuate service. In many

READ MORE

A MSA Can Help Your Divorce Go Smoothly

Divorce is emotional enough without having to sort through complex legal terms, of which there are many in common divorce proceedings. It’s easy to get confused by court terms and conditions, should your case actually go to court. But not all divorces need to get hung up in lengthy courtroom struggles. If you’ve agreed to divorce, you might consider the benefits of a marital separation agreement. Understanding the MSA document The MSA is a foundational document to establish the terms of your divorce. It helps you and your spouse identify how you’ll divide your shared property and to organize a

READ MORE

Prenuptial Agreements for Elderly Couples

When thinking about prenuptial agreements one commonly may envision parents urging their soon-to-be wed child not to be blinded by love, and to protect their assets with a premarital agreement. Lately, however, there has been a role reversal. The prenup has taken on a whole new meaning. Adult children, concerned about protecting their inheritance, are advocating for their elderly parents to sign premarital agreements . More than half a million seniors will marry this year. Some of these nuptials are causing concern for the bride and groom’s adult children. In some cases, a single elderly parent who marries again intends

READ MORE

What To Wear To Family Court

Does it matter what I wear to divorce or family court? Going to court can be an unpleasant ordeal. Clearly, an individual can be exceptionally worried about the court date itself. They may be stressed over what will happen. They may be stressed over what they might have to say or do. An apparently insignificant detail can make some individuals stress. They may worry about what they should wear to court? Further, they may wonder whether what they wear can have any kind of effect on the case itself. Different judges can have their own preferences on clothing. But it

READ MORE

Preparing for a court date in your case

Court Dates During a Divorce For many people the process of getting a divorce can be a very stressful experience. Having to prepare for a court case that is coming up, can sometimes just add more stress to it all. It’s vital to understand how to prepare for a court date and what to expect at trial. There are so many questions that might be running across your mind like: “What should I be expecting?” “What do I have to do?” “What kind of preparation do I need to focus on?” “How should I dress for court?” These are all

READ MORE

TEN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TESTIFYING IN DIVORCE COURT

Even though most divorces “settle” and don’t end up in court, it is prudent to have an idea of what to expect should you go to court and how you should present yourself when questioned in the courtroom. In your court appearance, you will be evaluated by all in attendance including the attorneys and the judge. Your actions as well as your words will make a difference-a big difference. Below are some tips for testifying in divorce and family court. 1. TELL THE TRUTH. This is the most important commandment. If you lie, your credibility will be destroyed for your

READ MORE

Where Divorce Can Be Denied in Orthodox Judaism, Prenuptial Agreements May be Considered

Making the news is the issue of how to get a divorce in the Orthodox Jewish religion when it is denied by your husband. This type of religious divorce is known as a “get” or a letter dictated by the husband and written by a trained scribe giving the wife permission to end the marriage. Less religious Jews divorce with no thought to the get, but this is not the case in traditional Judaism where the husband may withhold the divorce. If the divorce is withheld, the woman is called an agunah, or “chained wife.” There were 462 cases of

READ MORE

Having the necessary evidence on marital property and debt

Marital Property and Debt During a Divorce When parties get divorced, they generally have to report to the court all the marital property and debt that they have. Depending on location and jurisdiction, the format of these terms differs. This is why it is vital to speak with an attorney about the particular details that may occur during your case. The problem is that a lot of parties think that listing all their marital property and debt is enough and that nothing else needs to be done. But in most instances, the best thing to do is get supporting documents

READ MORE

Lessons Learned from one Divorce Story Close to Home

As the “Gray Divorce” points out, older Americans are splitting up in record numbers-one quarter of all divorces now involve people over 50. This is a true story about a couple, Ram Samuel, 66, and Barbara Samuel, 54, who met at a party in 1980, bridging geography, age and race. Married for nearly two decades, their lives took turns in different directions. They lived in Pueblo, Colorado and raised two sons, now 30 and 28, and are friends to this day. Certain lessons can be gleaned from their marriage and later, their divorce. Here is their story. The couple’s marriage

READ MORE

Finances after Divorce

Can a small business survive after the divorce of its co-owners or “copreneurs?”

A small business can survive and even thrive after the divorce of its co-owners or “copreneurs” as a business couple who owns a shared company is sometimes called. It’s hard, but it can be done. In the US, couples co-own 3.7 million small businesses, according to the Census Bureau. When all is going well in the business and in the marriage, the arrangement may be beneficial for all parties. But, what happens when the marriage dies? Does the business survive? Most of the time, the business relationship ends too and the revised company ownership is thrashed out in court. But,

READ MORE

After the Divorce: A New, Financially Sound You

The divorce is final and the settlement is done. If mistakes have been made, they are in the past, and nothing short of going back to court is going to change them. It is time to move forward. The average length of marriage for those that end in divorce is eight years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In that amount of time, a lot of financial and personal decisions have been made. Now it is time to make new decisions. Become Your Own Person During your marriage, you identified yourself as half of a couple. Now it is time

READ MORE

Tax Audits Are a Common Result of Divorce

The last thing anyone wants to experience is a divorce. It’s a process that everyone hopes to forget. However, one of the worst ways to be reminded of it is by receiving a “tax audit.” And if you think this is something that could never happen to you, just look at the statistics. More than 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Based on CDC, 6.8 marriages per 1,000 people in the U.S. are married and 3.6 marriages per 1,000 people divorce. You ask how does the IRS know that they should audit you from the divorce? Well, that’s

READ MORE

Handling taxes after filing for divorce in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma

Learning about the tax implications surrounding divorce helps immensely when it comes to reducing frustration and avoiding financial blunders. There is a lot to take care of when you are thinking about divorcing, are in the middle of a divorce and even after the divorce has been finalized. Divorcing couples in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma should be sure they take out some time to learn what they can expect when it is time for them to file their taxes as newly divorced people. The right information goes a long way in keeping your emotional, mental and financial burden as

READ MORE

Financial problems may arise following later-in-life divorces

According to the most recent complete data available, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services report that there were over 23,000 Missouri marriages that ended in divorce in 2010 – with 3,000 divorces in St. Louis County alone. While these numbers may not be especially alarming in today’s day and age, a study conducted by Bowling Green State University indicates that although divorce rates have remained relatively stable over the last 20 years nationwide, the divorce rate among those aged 50 and above has more than doubled – divorces which are often referred to as “gray” divorces. Specifically, researchers

READ MORE

Coping after Divorce

Recover from Heartbreak: 4 Tips for Self-Discovery & Moving On

In a world driven by the pursuit of happiness, many of us are also on the quest for love. A person’s love story throughout a lifetime is an odyssey of stormy waters, calm seas, exhilarating waves and beautiful horizons. However, the storms that disrupt a single expedition can have long-lasting, even damaging effects. In other words, heartbreak or breakups from one relationship can create raw vulnerability, destroyed self-esteem, fear and loneliness. Emotional recovery and repair becomes an uphill climb, similar to the theory of self-actualization by Abraham Maslow. Theory of Self-Actualization: The Pursuit of Happiness Self-actualization was developed as a

READ MORE

But what if I don’t want the divorce?

Sometimes in a divorce case, not everyone in the party wants it. In some instances, one party very badly wants to save their marriage. Maybe they didn’t see it coming, or maybe they saw it coming, but were convinced that it could be saved in the end. No matter the situation, it brings the question: “what is a party to do?” Do they consent to a divorce because the other spouse doesn’t want to remain married? Or do they contest the divorce as a whole and hope that the judge denies the divorce and that the spouse changes their mind?

READ MORE

6 Dos and Don’ts of Dating After Divorce

Starting over after a divorce is challenging, even more so when you have kids dealing with numerous emotional issues due to the circumstances. You spend hours, days and even years helping them work through the emotional pain, but what about your well-being? What do you do once you decide you’re ready to be in a new relationship? There’s no need to put your love life on the back burner until the kids are in college, you just need to follow some simple principles that will help you better navigate this time in your life and find the perfect partner. Don’t

READ MORE

Rebuilding Your Life After Divorce

A divorce is one of the most emotionally taxing experience that anybody will have to face. For some, it was known this was coming for a while. There might have been disagreements and disputes for a while. For others, the divorce may have come as a shock. It could be that the divorce felt like it came out of left field. No matter the situation, the divorce process is hard to endure for most. Many wonder how their marriage fell apart. Many think “what if?” as they look back on how the marriage fell apart. Some are also not sure

READ MORE

Logic and emotions in a divorce case

When entering a divorce, there are two emotions that come into play: logic versus emotion. When a family law case begins, there are so many emotions that the parties are experiencing. Their whole life is changing. To some individuals, they may never have seen this coming. To others, it may as well have been a long time coming. No matter what situation, it doesn’t change the dynamics. Change causes people to feel a range of emotions, like: stress, anxiety, anguish, and sadness. Some individuals may feel the whole range of emotions, while some may only be stuck on one. It

READ MORE

Don’t Sign Without An Attorney’s Guidance

The burden that one experiences when facing a new divorce, custody or family law case can be too much to bear for some. For some individuals, it can cause a lot of pressure and grief. The pressure and grief can cause people to make quick and impulsive decisions that they regret. In some cases, one party might be ready to move on quickly. They might have hired an attorney and filed in court a dissolution of marriage, legal separation or other family law case. They likely made the decision to get an attorney in their corner to help them get

READ MORE

One mom copes with divorce by writing simple hashtags

Just hours after she and her husband’s decision to separate, Denise Albert sat down at the computer and started to write about her divorce. Albert is an entrepreneur and mother of two. She co-founded the business TheMOMs.com. As a journalist and television producer, she shares the small joys that have made a huge difference in her life since the separation a few years back.Her first piece, Divorce Diaries is a blog series that basically shows other parents that it is possible to have a civil divorce for the sake of the kids. But what really helped her move on are

READ MORE

The important roles of financial experts in a high-asset divorce

This article looks at the important roles played by forensic accountants and valuation experts in divorce. A couple that has a large marital estate is, almost by definition, more likely to run into complex problems and challenges when they try to divide that estate during divorce. The complexity of many high-asset divorces means that there is often plenty of room for significant financial considerations to either be overlooked, misrepresented, or misunderstood. For these reasons, as Forbes points out, anybody going through a high-asset divorce should be prepared to seek the advice of financial experts, specifically valuation experts and forensic accountants,

READ MORE

After the Divorce

5 Ways to Achieve Confidence When Dating

The world of dating can be quite intimidating. A healthy self-esteem and level of confidence is a must when trying to build a healthy and stable relationship. With 44 percent of adults in America being single, give yourself the upper hand in the pool of singles and ready to mingles with these tips to boosting confidence. Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone Surprise yourself with all the things you can do that you never knew you could. Your self esteem gets a big boost from achievements, big and small. So, challenge yourself to do one thing every day that is

READ MORE

Dating After Divorce: How to Date in a Technological World

Dating after a divorce is a different beast than the dating you did in your teens and 20s. After a divorce, you might feel hesitant, picky or confused about your options. Or, you might just be unsure of how to meet people who are single and not crazy. It was easier in high school and college when you had a ready mix of similarly eligible options to choose from. And technology has dramatically changed the dating scene. Follow these suggestions to find yourself on the cyber-path to your next love. Dating Apps and Sites The world of dating websites and

READ MORE

Is taking out a life insurance policy on my ex-spouse a possibility?

Yes, you can take out a life insurance policy on your ex-spouse if there is an insurable interest such as maintenance (alimony) and/or child support and your ex agrees to sign the application and go through underwriting. Often, as part of the divorce settlement, a life insurance policy is negotiated prior to the divorce finalization to make sure that child support and/or maintenance gets paid should something happen to the ex. If your ex-spouse is the higher earner, who is paying maintenance and/or child support, and you are dependent upon this income; a life insurance policy will secure these important

READ MORE

You Can Maintain an Amicable Relationship With Your Ex

Divorce is never easy, not for anyone. Not mom or dad and especially not the kids. Maintaining an amicable relationship is not only important for children and teens, but it’s essential for keeping relationships healthy, no matter how you may feel about your ex. If you feel like you’ll never be able to maintain an amicable relationship, read on, and you might just learn something new. Take “Me Time” We already know that divorce is stressful, but there are ways, in addition to therapy or counseling, that you can calm your nerves and relax a bit: with me time. Taking

READ MORE

What do you want your family to look like after the divorce?

Families are more diverse today with less focus on their structure and more emphasis on function and purpose. The prime role of the family is to take care of and love each other. The saying goes, “There’s no tougher job than being a parent.” According to the Pew Research Center, parents find caring for their children more exhausting than the work they do for pay. At the same time, parents find this time more rewarding. If you’re thinking of making a change in your family dynamic with a divorce or separation, below are a few things to keep in mind.

READ MORE

Custody

Without a doubt, custody can be one of the most heated issues during a divorce. We understand how important your children are, and our law firm will work diligently to ensure that their best interests are represented. These articles, which discuss a wide variety of custody issues, can help you get the information you are looking for.

Child Custody

Why don’t I have custody rights if I’m on the birth certificate?

A father calls saying that he in on the birth certificate of a child that was born out-of-wedlock. The mother, for whatever reason, will not let him see the child. He indicates that he on the birth certificate and cannot understand why she can keep the child away from him. This is common, while lots is often made about the so-called dads that are not involved, most law firms get more calls from dads who are involved or want to be involved and don’t know how to do so. Many dads that are unmarried think that since they’re on the

READ MORE

Divorcing parents love & dread summer

Although we all love the sunny days of summer, divorcing moms and dads sometimes dread the thought of summer without the structure of school for their children. They have to find childcare or a camp for the kids while they are at work. This is especially true for the former stay-at-home parent who is now working outside the home. Childcare and camps can be expensive. This comes at a time when the couple is having half the resources they once had while married. The financial challenge is finding childcare or camps that are cost-effective while at the same time ones

READ MORE

The Baby’s Daddy Gabriel Aubry is awarded $16,000 a Month in Child Support from Halle Berry

It is official… Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon ruled on May 30th that Oscar-winner, Halle Berry, will pay her ex-boyfriend, Gabriel Aubry, $16,000 a month in child support for their 6-year-old daughter, Nahla. The child-support payments will continue until Nahla turns 19 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. According to The Associated Press, Berry must also pay Aubry an $115,000 retroactive payment and $300,000 for Aubry’s legal fees. In addition, Berry will pay Nahla’s school tuition; the former couple will split their daughter’s health care. Berry, 47, currently starring in “X-Men: Days of Future

READ MORE

Can parents move out of state with children after a divorce?

A parent may be able to move out of state if he or she gives the proper notice, gets approval, has a good reason and stays somewhat close by. When Illinois couples divorce, they may think their legal interactions are over once the process is finalized. However, couples with children remain legally intertwined for years to come. Once simple actions, like moving, become impeded by red tape. Even though the process of moving is more complex after a divorce, it is not necessarily impossible. A parent may even be able to relocate out of state with his or her children.

READ MORE

Bode Miller’s child custody battle and the effect on pregnant women in the U.S.

Bode Miller, Olympic winner of the bronze medal in the super-G event, has had his share of hardships and mishaps in the last year – the sudden death of his brother, recovering from knee surgery, and a custody battle over his infant son. His tears were heartfelt; his performance admirable; but the custody battle is a little different. The baby’s mother, Sara McKenna, raised the question of whether pregnant women should be legally forced to live near their unborn child’s father. The story: McKenna, a former Marine, gets pregnant in California and decides to move to New York to attend

READ MORE

Law Enforcement Involvement in Child Custody Proceedings

Law enforcement in child custody proceedings can often take place when severe allegations of abuse occur. Obviously, the concerns can take a different turn when a parent is accused of child abuse versus lodging accusations against the other parent. Parents should be very careful in terms of involving law enforcement. In cases where abuse or neglect has taken place, law enforcement involvement is necessary. However, if it is later believed that the allegations brought were false or trumped up, this can be severely damaging to a custody case. When a parent has been accused of child abuse, in many cases,

READ MORE

Third Party Visitation Rights in Missouri

Below is some Missouri law involving third party custody. This summary includes some relevant statutes and an important Missouri case summaryBecause the facts of every circumstance is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. Statutes RSMo. § 452.375. 1. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: (1) “Custody” means joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody or sole physical custody or any combination thereof; (2) “Joint legal custody” means that the parents share the decision-making rights,

READ MORE

Parenting Coordinators: A New Trend in Custody Cases

Parenting coordinators are becoming a new trend in high conflict custody cases. The court appoints trained parenting coordinators to help parents make decisions together.[1] The premise around parenting coordinators are establishing and maintaining a cooperative relationship between the divorced parents. The parents of a young child will more than likely have to interact for several years.[2] Long-term parental conflict can have a negative effect on the child.[3] Judges use appointed coordinators to assist parents in developing custody agreements with primary focus in reducing parental conflict and court appearances.[4] The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Task Force on Parenting

READ MORE

Enforcing child support orders in the state of Missouri

Often, family law courts in St. Louis, and throughout Missouri, order child support for parents who have never been married, or those who are divorced. These monetary payments are typically made from noncustodial parents to custodial parents. They are ordered to ensure that both parents bear the financial responsibility of raising their children.While most people who are ordered to make such payments comply, there are those who fall into arrears. This may be by choice, or due to unavoidable circumstances, such as the loss of a job or a change in earnings. Regardless of the reasons why a parent is

READ MORE

Do kids get to choose where they live?

Can A Child Choose Where They Will Live in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, or Oklahoma? When a divorce or child custody case starts, many go to their lawyer and express that their children want to live with them versus the other parent. Often, they then think they have a simple case. Is this line of thinking correct? Do kids get to choose where they live in a divorce or custody case? The truth is that courts make decision on custody and parenting time based on what is in the best interests of the child. In making this determination, courts look at

READ MORE

Drugs During Child Custody Matters

Drugs During Your Child Custody Dispute In times of a divorce, custody, or family law matter leading to a case; the parties going through the case will feel exhausted, emotionally and physically. When the stress adds up, it becomes more and more over whelming; causing some to turn to drugs or alcohol thinking it may help. Maybe the parties have previously, casually done drugs in the past. For others, maybe they consider the option because they have never done it before, with hope that it will be an escape for them. The biggest concern that comes from this is when children

READ MORE

How drugs can ruin your custody case

The process of any custody case is often emotionally difficult and draining. Usually custody cases often happen in the midst of a break-up. The break up could be through divorce proceedings. Or, the break-up can office outside of a marriage where the parties just have children together. Stress can be extremely overwhelming during these times. And, unfortunately, some individuals can turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of “escape.” For others, they may have been a drug user in the pasted. They might have used drugs casually with the knowledge of their spouse or significant other. When the relationship

READ MORE

State Supreme Court to Decide Custody Rights of Undocumented Immigrant

The Missouri Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of Carlos Romero, a three year old child adopted while his mother was in jail on immigration charges. The court is being asked to decide whether the mother’s parental rights were properly terminated and awarded to an adoptive couple.Encarnación Bail Romero came to the United States illegally in 2005 from Guatemala, giving birth to Carlos nearly a year later. Shortly after Carlos’ birth, Romero used false identification cards and a fake Social Security number to obtain employment at a Barry County Missouri poultry processing plant. In May of 2007, Romero was

READ MORE

Missouri child relocation laws: You can’t just pick up and move

The economic downturn of recent years has led to thousands of layoffs, resulting in countless moves by those unfortunate Missouri workers desperately searching for employment. And, while these types of relocations are often tricky enough, they can become a whole lot more complicated if the person moving is also attempting to relocate with his or her child – in particular, when this parent shares custody or visitation with the child’s other parent. In circumstances such as these, Missouri parents need to adhere to Missouri child relocation laws in order to ensure their respective rights are protected. Notice and process of

READ MORE

Overnight Dates Could Seriously Damage Your Child Custody Case

Should you have a member of the opposite sex spend the night while you are going through a divorce? The resounding answer is -no. “If there are children involved, overnight guests are a no-no,” says Kathy Stafford, a relationship coach and author of Relationship Remorse. “Children do not and should not have to deal with an endless stream of ‘new dads’ or ‘new moms.’ If you want to have a sexual relationship with someone new, that’s OK. Just don’t do it with the kids at home.” And she also believes that it doesn’t matter how old they are. ” Children

READ MORE

Missouri Parenting Plans

For most parents, nothing is more important to them then their children. That is why child custody matters can be some of the most intense issues for couples and judges to decide upon. When the parents of a child do not or will no longer live together, and they file documents in court seeking child custody or visitation, Missouri law also requires the parents to submit a proposed parenting plan.Parenting plans include information on the child’s custody and visitation arrangements, state how child-care costs will be allocated, establish a method for resolving disputes between the parents regarding the child, and

READ MORE

Joint Custody

The Very Real Risks of “Sharenting”

From the moment the camera was invented and someone captured a toothless grin of an adorable baby on film, parents have loved taking pictures of their children. Of course, the way we share photos of our kiddos has drastically changed over the years. Our parents had to take rolls of film in to be developed and then they might tuck a couple of the cuter pics into their wallet or purse to show co-workers at lunch. Nowadays, thanks to the launch of smartphones and social media, we can figuratively share our wallet of kid photos with literally hundreds of people

READ MORE

In Co-Parenting: Matching Parenting Styles with Children’s Temperaments

Parents influence, teach and socialize their children. Often times, in divorce, differing parental styles can become a major conflict between co-parents. The trick is to work together for the benefit of your children. This can be challenging, but well worth the effort. The identification of parenting styles was the result of the work of Diana Baumrind and other researchers in child development. The researchers matched elements of parenting that resulted in children having the positive qualities of: independence, maturity, self-reliance, self-control, curiosity, friendliness and achievement orientation. The result identified two important ingredients: 1. responsiveness, or warmth and supportiveness; 2. behavioral

READ MORE

Joint Custody Preferred by Most Judges

Some clients who come to Stange Law Firm, PC inquire about the possibility of receiving “full custody” of their children. We ask if they are referring to “sole” legal and physical custody, because under Missouri law, there are only two types of custody available-legal and physical. Legal custody has to do with who makes major decisions on behalf of the child. Physical custody deals with the location where the child resides. In both arrangements, either “joint” or “sole” custody can be awarded. Times have changed. Judges in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma no longer automatically award sole custody to the

READ MORE

Studies show joint parenting may be best for children

Studies show that children are often better developed if they have significant interactions with both parents after a divorce. When parents file for divorce in Kansas, it is crucial to put the best interests of the children in the forefront. Although separation and divorce may be extremely difficult for children of any age, studies show there are some ways that parents can make the transition easier on their kids. While many people believed that it is best for a child to reside in the sole custody of one parent in order to maintain a consistent atmosphere, researchers have found that

READ MORE

New Shared Parenting Bill (HB1550) Signed in Missouri

HB1550 Shared Parenting Bill A new shared parenting was signed into law by Governor Nixon in Missouri. This new bill is a move toward making shared parenting the norm in Missouri. The hope of this bill was to make 50/50 custody, or shared parenting, more likely in the State of Missouri. There are many other components to HB1550 Bill. However, one of the main focuses being that parents who are being denied their custody time will be able to get a quick relief by highlighting the already existing Family Access Motion relief available in Missouri statutes – through the requirement

READ MORE

New Illinois Law: Allows Judges to Order a “Right of First Refusal” for Parents Who Share Joint Custody

A new law went into effect in Illinois on January 14, 2014 that allows judges to order a “right of first refusal” for parents who share joint custody of their children. The right of first refusal (ROFR) means that any time if one parent cannot care for the children during his or her scheduled time or custody, that parent must first offer the other parent the right to take care of the children during that time.” If a party intends to leave the minor child or children with a substitute child-care provider for a significant period of time, that party

READ MORE

Shared-parenting laws gaining momentum

Shared equal custody or commonly-called shared-parenting laws are gaining momentum as more state lawmakers examine the pros and cons of children spending equal amounts of time with both divorced parents. Advocates contend that children are better served when equal time is spent with both parents and oppose custody to one parent, except when there is a history of abuse or substance abuse. Opponents say that each case is unique and that a judge needs flexibility to determine what custody arrangement is in the best interest of each individual child in relationship to all circumstances. Ned Holstein, founder of the National

READ MORE

Adoption

What Is A Home Study In An Adoption?

Home Studies in Adoption Have you decided that you would like to adopt a child? This is wonderful news, as adoption can be a joyous experience for couples and the child. Whether you are adopting a child in the United States or pursuing an international adoption, a home study will be a critical step in the process. Home studies are required in almost every adoption. The studies are given a lot of weight in the courts, as judges consider whether an adoption is in the best interest of the child. A home study will go in depth to determine what

READ MORE

International Adoption

Local Process and Requirements Intercountry adoption is a form of adoption in which the adoptive parents are citizens of one country (the United States for our purposes), and the adopted child is the citizen of another country. The U.S. Department of State recommends adopting from countries that are parties to the Hague Convention, as the Convention offers further protections for adoptive families.1 The recommended process requires that the adopted child be formally adopted in its home country before entering the United States.2 Once the foreign adoption is complete, the adoptive parents must meet further requirements set by the United States

READ MORE

A 9-Year-Old Girl Removed from Adoptive Parents & Given to Dad She Never Knew

A 9-year-old girl was removed from her adoptive parents’ home after her biological father was released from prison and demanded her back. Since 2006, Sonja had been living with Kim and David Hodgin and was formally adopted by them in 2008. Her father, John McCaul, was serving a 15-year prison sentence on a gun charge that was later reduced to 7-1/2 years, allowing McCaul to assert his parental rights and fight to reverse the adoption. In November 2009, the court reversed the adoption. The girl continued to live with the Hodgins as both parties fought for custody. Nearly five years

READ MORE

Post-Adoption Contact and Other Complex Adoption Issues

Drafting and Enforceability of Post-Adoption Contact Agreements Post-adoption contact agreements are agreements between the adoptive parents and the birth parents that allow birth parents to enjoy a continued relationship with the adopted child after the adoption is finalized. Research has shown that post-adoption contact can be especially beneficial for children adopted from foster care, as they are generally older and have established relationships with birth families. An opportunity to connect with the birth family of the foster child can help the child deal with “attachment issues,” feelings of guilt and sadness that can prevent a foster child from bonding to

READ MORE

Establishing parental rights through stepparent adoption

The definition of an American family has grown to embrace a variety of domestic situations. In some cases, a step-parent is the best choice to fill a void that exists in the family. Although you can develop a close relationship with your step-children through the marriage process, many step-parents choose to legalize the role by becoming an adoptive parent. It’s not uncommon. In fact, step-parent adoption is the frontrunner as one of the most common ways to adopt children in America, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The same holds true for residents of Saint Louis

READ MORE

How does closed and open adoption differ?

Find out the difference between open and closed adoptions. Learn how they may affect both parties and how Kansas law affects getting information after an adoption. Both the adoptive family and birth parents have options when it comes to handling an adoption in Kansas. One of those is whether it will be open or closed. In general, these terms refer to the exchange of information, but it may also refer to the amount of involvement. Before you adopt or give a baby up for adoption, you should understand them. Open adoptions According to American Adoptions, the most common type of

READ MORE

How can Missouri parents help adopted kids feel at home?

Adoptive parents in Missouri should gain a bit of insight into how to help an adoptive child feel at ease in her or his new home. Deciding to adopt a child is a huge undertaking, one that requires an abundance of thought and planning. Missouri adoptive parents can use a few suggestions about steps they can take to make their adoptive child or children feel right at home and help them ease into the transition, paving the way for a solid and long-lasting bond between parent and child. Learn the type of life the child had before being adopted Deciding

READ MORE

Implementation Of Adoptee’s Rights Act In Missouri

It’s easier than ever for people who were adopted in Missouri to obtain information on their origins. This is a change from much of the past, when it was often very difficult for an adopted person to locate any information about their birth parents. Why do people seek such information out to begin with? For some, it’s to gain an understanding of their history or to meet their birth parent(s). For many, it’s about knowing their health history. This can be crucial in order to take preventive measures and to help doctors identify the best treatment options for various ailments

READ MORE

The basics: Missouri stepparent adoption

Stepparent adoption is a way in which a stepparent can gain legal parental rights and form an unbreakable bond with his or her stepchildren. Stepparent adoption is a way in which a stepparent can gain legal parental rights and form an unbreakable bond with his or her stepchildren. Blended families are common not only in Missouri but across the country. With the first-marriage divorce rate hovering at around 50 percent – and the United States Census Bureau reporting that about 40 percent of those people choose to marry again – it is easy to see why. In many ways, blended

READ MORE

Fathers sue Utah over law that puts their babies up for adoption

Twelve men are suing the state of Utah because of a law that allows mothers to put up their babies for adoption without the father’s consent, and in some cases knowledge. Wes Hutchins, attorney for the men, contends he is pro-adoption, but that the Utah Adoption Act has resulted in what amounts to “legalized fraud and kidnapping.” Hutchins is the current president of the Utah Council for Ethical Adoption Practices and was formerly the president of the Utah Adoption Council. Some of the plaintiffs’ stories: “Well, I thought I was going to have a son,” Nikolas Thurnwald recalled. He said

READ MORE

Grandparents

Missouri grandparents can fight for grandchild visitation rights

Gone are the days when it was simply expected that children would be raised in traditional nuclear families. In today’s world it is quite common for children to not only be raised in single parent households, but also by their grandparents. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau a staggering 2.7 million grandparents had grandchildren living with them under the age of 18 in 2010. But, even in instances in which grandparents are the primary caregivers to grandchildren, they often have limited rights to custody and visitation in many states. Similarly, grandparents routinely have to deal with limited access

READ MORE

Census Reveals That Increasingly Grandparents Raise Grandkids

Over the past decade, the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren on a full-time basis has increased dramatically. However, taking responsibility for a grandchild’s care does not necessarily mean that grandparents are recognized as legal guardians. In some cases, after caring for a grandchild, a parent may bar contact; however, under Missouri law grandparent visitation rights are usually available. The 2010 Census found that six million children in the United States live in homes where a grandparent is the head of household. This was twice the number reported in 2000. These six million children represent approximately eight percent of all

READ MORE

Paul Walker’s Mother Petitions to Become Granddaughter’s Guardian

Cheryl Ann Walker, the late Paul Walker’s mother, filed a legal petition on Tuesday, March 18, to be appointed guardian of her 15-year-old granddaughter, Meadow Walker, and also to administer the $16 million-plus estate that Meadow inherited from her father. Paul Walker, an actor of “Fast and Furious” fame, was killed in an accident last November and left his entire estate to his teen daughter, Meadow. Meadow lived with her mother, Rebecca Soteros-who was Paul’s ex-girlfriend, in Hawaii, while Paul lived in L.A. for much of the girl’s childhood. However, the last few years and until his death in November,

READ MORE

Visitation rights of nonparents in Illinois

Getting visitation as a nonparent is possible if in the child’s best interest and under the right circumstances. Illinois law gives certain people the right to petition the court for visitation of a child that is not theirs. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the constitutional right of parents to control and care for their children, so when a parent objects to their child spending time with someone (other than the other parent), that objection is difficult to overcome. For this reason, states have had to enact carefully crafted nonparent visitation laws that protect parental rights, while still acknowledging that

READ MORE

What rights do grandparents have?

Knowing what rights they have can help grandparents obtain rights for visitation with their grandkids. Those living in Missouri who have grandchildren most likely love the little ones and want to visit with them frequently. Typically, this is not an issue, as parents and grandparents can arrange times for the grandchildren to visit with their elder relatives. However, the fact remains that there are no natural visitation rights available to grandparents. It requires a court order. Therefore, if grandparents want to make sure they have a right to see their grandkids, they must know the steps involved in pursuing the

READ MORE

Support

In many divorces, one party will often end up making payments to the other, whether it is in the form of child support, spousal support or both. These articles discuss numerous topics that can come up during the process, and they can help you get a sense of what to expect.

Child Support

Sometimes a paternity test might not be advisable

Are You the Father? Truth be told, there are certainly some paternity and custody cases where the person who is thought to be the father may not be the father. There are also cases out there where a man has raised a kid to be his own later to find out that the child is not his biological child. Because of situations like this, it causes some fathers to seek a paternity test in court just to be sure they are the father. The birth of the child generally adds up to a time-period where sexual relations were taking place.

READ MORE

Women more frequently ordered to pay child support

For many highly successful couples, issues of child support during divorce are complicated as both parents seek to give their child or children a similar standard of living between their homes. Historically, men were primarily responsible for child support, yet in recent years more women have been paying child support to their ex-spouses. High earning women can no longer assume that they will not have to pay child support to their ex-spouses. Bethenny Frankel, of various reality shows – such as “The Real Housewives of New York” and “Bethenny Ever After – has filed for divorce from her husband. In

READ MORE

Enforcing child support orders in the state of Missouri

Often, family law courts in St. Louis, and throughout Missouri, order child support for parents who have never been married, or those who are divorced. These monetary payments are typically made from noncustodial parents to custodial parents. They are ordered to ensure that both parents bear the financial responsibility of raising their children.While most people who are ordered to make such payments comply, there are those who fall into arrears. This may be by choice, or due to unavoidable circumstances, such as the loss of a job or a change in earnings. Regardless of the reasons why a parent is

READ MORE

Willingly Paying Child Support

Child Custody and Support In many different instances, it can end up being some time before the child custody and support matters between unmarried parents are able to get their matter before a judge to enter an order as to custody and child support. This can be tough for parties for many different reasons. Starting with unmarried mothers and their concern about having the financial ability to care for their child. For many unmarried fathers, they might be concerned about getting visitation with their child. Every case is different and can result in varying factual scenarios. However, for fathers who

READ MORE

How are child support orders enforced in Illinois?

When Illinois parents fall behind or choose not to make their child support payments, the state has a number of enforcement options it may pursue. Family law courts in Illinois and elsewhere often order child support awards to ensure that both parents fulfill their financial responsibilities to their kids. While most people comply with these orders, there are some situations when parents may fall behind or choose not to pay. Charged with the enforcement of child support orders, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, or HFS, has the authority to take various actions to encourage parents to make

READ MORE

NJ teen sues parents for financial support: loses round one in suit

A New Jersey high school senior sued her parents, asserting her parents had thrown her out of the family home when she turned 18 and refused to pay for her private high school and college education. But her parents say she left on her own. Rachel Canning asked the court to have her parents pay $650 a week in support for the foreseeable future, the outstanding tuition for her private high school, $5,000, and immediate access to a college fund to pay for at least some of her college education, plus pay her legal bills in excess of $12,000. At

READ MORE

Spousal Support

Providing for Your Child’s College Education in Your Divorce Decree

It is important to provide for your child’s college education before you sign that divorce decree. Make sure that your attorney has spelled out the college education that you, your ex, and your child have in mind. The specific language should provide the best financial outcome for your child and both parents. Beth Walker of College Founding Coaches provides the below checklist of things to consider, during your divorce process, regarding your child’s college education: 1. The parent with the least amount of income should have often have custody or be the residential parent (and the corresponding tax deduction for

READ MORE

As breadwinning moms increase so do dads seeking spousal support

Women are the sole or primary breadwinners in 4 out of 10 households with children, according to a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center. This has happened by choice, by chance, or by need per a new survey of 2,000 working moms and dads conducted by Working Mother Media. These moms and dads speak out about how they feel about their roles. The ‘pleased’ vs. ‘reluctant’ breadwinning mom Breadwinning moms who didn’t choose to be the primary earners in their families tend to feel less satisfied about their lives than women who consciously selected the role: 29% of the

READ MORE

An introduction to Missouri spousal maintenance

Missouri maintenance law has some traditional and some modern aspects. For most divorcing couples, whether spousal maintenance – a legal obligation of money support payments from one ex-spouse to the other – is awarded can make a big difference in the future economic situation for each of them. Historically called alimony, Missouri statutes now refer to these support payments as maintenance. Negotiated maintenance First, the parties may decide to negotiate an agreement about whether maintenance will be paid as well as its terms such as amount and duration. Missouri allows the spouses to negotiate maintenance as the subject of a

READ MORE

Alimony tax deduction eliminated

The alimony tax deduction has been a staple of divorce law for a long time. The issue first arose to prominent in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gould v. Gould, 245 U.S. 151 (1917). In Gould, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately found that alimony was not tax deductible. In 1942, Gould was overruled by the Revenue Tax Act of 1942. Since that time, alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) has been tax deductible in divorce matters. Litigants in divorce matters have come to rely on the fact. However, under a new tax bill that was presented to President Trump,

READ MORE

Helping Your Children During Your Divorce

Couples getting a divorce often worry about the impact on their children. Breaking the news, and helping children deal with their emotions and new routines may be challenging. Parents, however, may use a variety of strategies to make the transition easier. Telling the Children To minimize distress and uncertainty, children should know about the divorce earlier in the process instead of at the last minute. Experts give the following tips for the often difficult conversation with the children: Tell the children together Keep it simple and avoid going into details about each other’s faults Emphasize that the divorce is not

READ MORE

What are the basics of alimony law in Oklahoma?

Judges have fairly wide discretion to fashion alimony awards in Oklahoma. One of the more important legal issues to be settled in divorce is whether alimony – the payment of support from one ex-spouse to the other after divorce – will be granted as part of the final divorce order. In many divorces, alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, can make a major impact of the lifestyles of the parties – both the paying party as well as the recipient, in some cases. First, two people who are divorcing often can negotiate a settlement agreement in which

READ MORE

In Kansas, judges have wide discretion to fashion alimony awards

On behalf of Kirk Stange Judges are directed in this task by state statute and guided in detail by the case law as explained in numerous Kansas court opinions. In recent years, some states have enacted major reforms of their alimony laws. Those reforms in general have reigned in the flexibility and discretion in judges’ power to craft awards. But in Kansas, judges retain relatively broad discretion under the law to create maintenance awards that judges feel will meet the needs of divorcing couples. This responsibility is immense not only because of the impact these decisions have on families, but

READ MORE

Illinois updates its alimony guidelines following tax changes

Illinois recently updated its alimony guidelines in response to the elimination of the alimony deduction. Earlier this year President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a major piece of tax reform legislation. Included in that law was the elimination of the 75-year-old alimony tax deduction. The loss of that tax deduction meant that many states that factor in the deduction when determining alimony (also called spousal support or maintenance) guidelines, including Illinois, would have to update their guidelines. Now, as the Chicago Tribune reports, Illinois has done just that, meaning that soon alimony amounts will

READ MORE

Keeping your children’s educational funds intact after divorce

On behalf of Kirk Stange This article explains how to treat a college savings 529 plan in divorce. No matter how high it gets, college tuition seems to increase every year. As part of saving for your children’s education, you may have put significant assets into a college savings 529 plan. Created in 1996, these plans allow you some tax advantages as you save for college. Anyone can contribute to a 529 plan, which will grow tax-deferred while funds remain in the account. If used for qualified educational expenses, then they are exempt from income tax. However, the owner of

READ MORE

Family Law

Family law cases are never easy. You can be faced with anything from a divorce to child custody to guardianship. These articles can provide information regardless of the type of family law case you are facing.

Your Family Law Attorney

Family Court Information in Kansas City, Missouri

Jackson County, Missouri Family Court Information in Kansas City For residents in Jackson County, Missouri, in the Kansas City Area, they may have lots of questions about the family courts in the area.  This can be particularly true in instances where somebody has been part of a family law case before such as a divorce, child custody, adoption or other family law matter. In these instances, a party might wonder where the courthouse is located?  And they also might wonder what types of cases can ultimately be heard in the family court?  These are all important initial questions for many

READ MORE

Family Court Information in Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri Family Court Information in Boone County For the residents in Columbia, Missouri that are dealing with any family law issues, they may have a numerous amounts of questions about the family courts in the area. In instances such as where somebody has been part of the family law case before such as a divorce, child custody, adoption, or any other family law matter. Because of these instances, a party might need to know where the courthouse is located. This brings up the question, “what types of cases can be heard in the family court?” All these initial thoughts

READ MORE

When Is My Family Law Case Over?

Individuals going through a family law case usually want their case to be completed as soon as possible. The emotional and financial burden of these cases can take a toll. Family law cases (including but not limited to divorce, custody, child support, adoptions, paternity cases and other domestic relations matters) can typically only resolve one of four ways once they begin: (1) The parties enter a settlement that is approved by the judge; (2) The parties try the case before a judge who issues a judgment; (3) The parties reconcile and/or the case is dismissed; or (4) One party defaults

READ MORE

One attorney for both parties? Is that allowed?

Potential clients often call a divorce firms asking if both parties can use just one attorney for their uncontested divorce. The potential client will explain that they and their spouse want the divorce, and those they agree on the terms and that they would prefer to use one attorney to keep the costs down. The concern revolves to a belief that if each party uses their own attorney, the case could spin out of control. In other words, a fight might start, attorney fees could accrue, the attorneys might not get along, and this could go from an easy divorce

READ MORE

Do-It-Yourself Divorce More Costly in the Long Run

You wouldn’t buy over-the-counter medicine for a serious illness. Symptoms that seem simple might be a sign of a more serious problem. You would instead consult your doctor immediately and go in for an appointment to get a thorough diagnosis. And wouldn’t this make a difference on the outcome?The same holds true for handling your divorce. Divorce is a serious process with life-long implications, affecting you, your spouse a, and your children. Attempting a do-it-yourself divorce, while more cost effective in the beginning, can wind up being more expensive in the long run, not to mention the negative impact or

READ MORE

Preparing for divorce in Missouri: Hiring the right attorney

Divorce lawyers may profoundly impact their clients’ cases, which is why it is vital that people take care when choosing their legal representatives. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports that there were 19,829 divorces across the state in 2014 alone. Known as a dissolution of marriage, many people choose to hire legal representation to guide them through the process of legally terminating their relationships. However, the people who divorcing spouses hire to handle their cases could have a significant impact on their outcomes. Thus, it is not advisable that people just pick a name off of a

READ MORE

Why are cancer doctors revered and divorce lawyers distrusted?

A recent Gallup Poll from December 5-8, 2013 provides some interesting data regarding lawyers and doctors. When the a sample of participants were polled, sixty-nine percent (69%) of participants indicated that they rated doctors highly for honesty and ethical standards. At the same time, when participants were asked about lawyers, only twenty percent (20%) of participants rated lawyers highly on the same scale. Why is that?  Why is it that doctors, who help people through unfortunate times, are revered, yet lawyers are frowned upon when they similarly help people through unfortunate times? Obviously, people can have various different takes on

READ MORE

Why Are Fixed Fees Problematic in Family Law?

The Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri in Formal Opinion 128 concludes that nonrefundable fees are considered unethical in Missouri. “In many instances, attorneys receive payment before the attorney has completed the services for which the payment is made. In some instances, attorneys refer to these payments as ‘nonrefundable.’ These ‘nonrefundable’ fees are often the subject of disciplinary complaints and fee disputes.” How should a reputable attorney bill who complies with the Missouri Bar? An attorney will typically ask for an advanced fee and that the client replenish their trust account or make payment as services are rendered.

READ MORE

Health and Family Law

Dealing With Therapy Privilege

Therapy and Mental Health Records Often Important in Custody Proceedings Communications with therapists and other health professionals can be a heavily litigated issue in a custody case. One party might feel that these records are crucial to making their custody case. As a result, they might spend lots of time and money trying to obtain these records. As an aside, a party might simply opt for a custody evaluation because a thorough custody evaluation might provide an easier path to obtaining the same information. A custody evaluator will likely want to see prior therapy, mental health and medical records in

READ MORE

Common Mental Health Conditions Affecting Custody & Asset Division

In resolving child-custody issues, the primary consideration is the best interests and welfare of the child. The mental health of the parents is one of the many factors which courts consider in determining an award of custody. The following are a list of some of the mental health disorders which have been relevant in determining custody. As always, consult your local jurisprudence for applicability. Schizophrenia: It is a psychotic disorder per the DSM-IV characterized by altered mental processes and emotional responses. Typical symptoms are auditory hallucinations, paranoid or abnormal delusions, and seemingly disorganized speech. It often results in social and

READ MORE

For the Love of Sports, Know When to Compromise

Compromises are part of any relationship, but compromises over sports is one of the hardest to make. Here are three ways to successfully find a give-and-take in the most common sports-related scenarios. Riot over the Remote You want to watch the big game but she wants to watch The Bachelor. The fight over the remote has been an ongoing battle since the advent of the television. Ladies, you may feel like he’s not reading your cues; so fellas, listen up! When the game is on, listen to what she’s saying. Is she’s talking about her day at work, her friends,

READ MORE

Tips on Handling Divorce with the Special Needs Child

While divorce can be hard on parents, children also can sense the tumultuous ups and downs associated with divorce. Children are vulnerable and special needs children are even more so. However, by giving special attention to their special needs and uniqueness, they too can cope and thrive. Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist, gives some tips to help special needs children thrive. She says: 1. Don’t blame your child for your divorce. It has been said that having a special needs child makes a couple more likely to divorce but recent research debates that idea.

READ MORE

When children need therapy after their parents’ divorce

Children may benefit from therapy after times of stressful changes like those in a divorce. During transitional periods of major family changes, kids may have a multitude of feelings that are very confusing. The support and understanding given by co-parents may be enough for the child to move on. However, some children require a little more help that a professional counselor or therapist can provide. Each child and each situation is unique. Professional help can support children in different ways. “Some children may have difficulty sharing their feelings, because they want to keep the family event a “secret.” Other children

READ MORE

Tips for your Family Law Case

Staying calm when reading court documents

Are legal pleadings filed by the other side upsetting you? When a divorce or family law case begins, it usually starts with the filing of the initial pleadings, including a petition or motion. After the petition or motion is served, the other party files with the court an answer or response to the initial pleadings. A counter-petition can often be submitted to the court as well. Certainly, the preciseness of the pleadings can vary by state and county. Regardless, where pleadings are filed and served, the other party often reads all the language in the initial pleadings. For those who

READ MORE

Can character witnesses be needed in family law issues?

Expert witnesses are very important in a family law issue or a divorce case. Naturally, this lead to a discussion about character witnesses. Do character witnesses help in a divorce? Child custody? Family Law matter? Or the question arises, “do they even make a difference?” These are all very important questions in need of a discussion. Parties often come to their divorce and/or family law attorney with the proposal that they call character witnesses. Typically, the most common character witnessed that are presented by a party are friends and family members. Parties often think it might be helpful to have

READ MORE

American courts & their use of foreign law in family law cases

“The benefits of bans on the use of foreign law are likely to be small – but the costs could be grave,” contends Eugene Volokh, who currently teaches at UCLA School of Law and was a former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U. S. Supreme Court. In the article “Why do American courts use foreign law in family law cases,” Volokh says, “Foreign law is routinely used in American courts, but in everyday cases applying existing American law legal rules related to family law, contract law, tort law, evidence law, and the like.” “Those American legal rules

READ MORE

Tips for giving your divorce or family law deposition

One of the tools for discovery in a divorce is the use of depositions. A deposition is your testimony, under oath. You will be sworn in and will truthfully answer questions asked by the opposing attorney. The questions and answers will be recorded by a court reporter. In fact, the testimony given in a deposition is similar to testimony given in the courtroom except a judge does not preside in the case of a deposition. The purpose of a fact-finding deposition is: 1) to determine what your story is and your knowledge of the facts in regard to the divorce;

READ MORE

Mark Sanford’s Super Bowl saga illustrates important family court lesson

During the Super Bowl last year, former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, got himself into some trouble with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, and the court. Jenny’s attorney alleged in documents that his client found her ex-husband, Mark, leaving her house through the back door on the day of the Super Bowl.  He was apparently using his cell phone as a flashlight at the time he was caught. Sanford went to the house of his ex-wife to watch the Super Bowl with his son.  Sanford admitted, “I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach

READ MORE

Family Law During the Holidays

Child custody in Missouri over the holidays: A primer

Parents may need to review child custody arrangements before making holiday plans. The holidays are often a time to focus on family and celebrate a joyous occasion. For those who are divorced, the holidays can bring more than just joy and celebration, they can bring stress over which parent gets to share the holiday traditions with their children. Parents in this situation can reduce the stress and focus on the joy by having a basic understanding of how child custody laws in their state impact the holidays. How does Missouri law impact child custody over the holidays? In Missouri, the

READ MORE

Gifts that Give: Charitable Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is coming up fast. You might have some ideas for gifts, but have you considered gifts that give back? Of course, getting your mother something a little out of the ordinary doesn’t need to replace a bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers, but can be a nice addition. If you’re looking to give your mom something a little different this year, here are some charitable gift ideas. UNICEF UNICEF is one of the leaders providing aid to children in need. For Mother’s Day, UNICEF is sending out dedicated cards to moms all over the world when you buy mosquito

READ MORE

March 20th is “International Day of Happiness”

The International Day of Happiness, as established by the United Nations General Assembly, is March 20th. So what should you celebrate? Especially those in the process of divorce or newly divorced may question the timing and validity of this question. But, just think about your strengths to deepen your happiness level. According to a posting in Psychology Today, Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D. contends, “One of the pathways to a deep happiness is the understanding and use of one’s highest strengths of character.” In Celebrate “International Day of Happiness” Tomorrow, strategies and practices in achieving happiness in relationships, communication, and character

READ MORE

The Holidays Are Over, Amen: Now It’s Time to Rejuvenate

You’ve earned a break. After the shopping and celebrating whirlwind that is Christmas, you probably ran yourself ragged preparing for the New Year. Not only is your wallet a little fatigued, but your body and mind likely are as well. Set a healthy, relaxed tone for 2015 and treat your body and spirit to some TLC. Spend Time De-Stressing If you share custody of your kids, you have a little built-in time to yourself. When your little ones are at your ex’s, don’t spend all your time catching up on laundry and completing household tasks. Take advantage of the peace

READ MORE

Facts regarding marriage and divorce on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014

Celebrating love is the custom on Valentine’s Day. Opinions differ on the history of the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that a clergyman, who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome, started the tradition. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. And closer to home, Hallmark Cards got its start with Valentine cards in Kansas City, Missouri. Founded in 1910 by Joyce Hall, Hallmark is now the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States. As customs evolve, Valentine cards now include the topics of love, marriage, and divorce

READ MORE

Military Family Law

DAD SERVING OVERSEAS MAY LOSE CUSTODY BECAUSE OF INABILITY TO APPEAR IN MICHIGAN COURTROOM

Matthew Hindes is a sailor stationed in a submarine somewhere in the Pacific. Four years after he was granted permanent custody of his child, 6-year-old-Kaylee, from his ex-wife, a circuit court judge has ordered him to appear in court over his ex-wife’s custody petition filed last year. “At this point, I don’t think I have any alternative but to enter a bench warrant for his arrest,” Judge Margaret Noe stated Monday according to the Daily Telegram, despite reviewing a letter authenticating his service overseas. Candidly, it is very hard to understand the rationale behind this ruling just based on what

READ MORE

Changes in military retirement will have major impact on divorces

The new military retirement system began on January 1, 2018. The question of how retirement benefits will be divided in divorce is always important to both parties, but it just got more complicated for military divorces. On January 1, 2018, a new military retirement program began called the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System or BRS. New features These are the key changes from the new plan: The introduction of a 401(k)-like component, called a defined contribution plan An optional bonus in exchange for a longer service commitment An optional lump sum payout at the beginning of retirement pay in exchange

READ MORE

Stays in Divorce Proceedings Involving Service Members

Pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA), active duty military personnel cannot have a default judgment entered against them for failing to respond to a divorce action. The divorce proceeding may be postponed for the entire duration of active service, up to sixty (60) days thereafter. However, this stay can be waived by the active duty military personnel if he/she wishes to proceed with the divorce. When a service member lacks notice of the proceedings, the SCRA requires a stay (or continuance) of at least 90 days when: 1) the court decides that there may be a defense to

READ MORE

U.S. Supreme Court case will impact former and future military divorces

On behalf of Kirk Stange Complex matters concerning military retirement and disability pay are at issue. In May 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion that will impact many military divorces involving division of military retirement pay when the military spouse also becomes eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. The ruling concerns legal issues that arise at a complex intersection of federal military law and state divorce law. Federal military law As background, the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act gives state courts power to divide military retirement pay as community property in divorce. Another kind of benefit that

READ MORE

Thank You This Memorial Day

Memorial Day, a true American holiday, honors the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. military. The holiday is observed by: visiting cemeteries of those who went before us; holding family gatherings enjoying those that are with us; watching and participating in parades that honor the freedom that has been earned with steadfast determination. But military life is tough on families. And, sometimes, even more tough when transitioning out of the military with marriage the casualty. In a letter written by Kate Horrell posted in paycheck-chronicles.military.com, she talks about obtaining professional legal help when military

READ MORE

Men in Family Law

Being a father in a family law case can be difficult. These articles can provide some information into the rights that fathers have in divorce cases and unmarried fathers have in paternity cases.

Fathers

What is the Missouri Putative Father Registry?

Around the country, forty percent of children are born out of wedlock. In some cases, when a romantic relationship between unmarried partners turns sour, a man may get shut out of his child’s life – which can have devastating effects on both the father and the child. In order to help unwed fathers have the opportunity to be in a child’s life, Missouri has established the putative father registry, which allows men who believe they are the father of a child to legally claim that child with the state. How the Registry Works Men who want to establish that they

READ MORE

Father of a Teenager?: Tips to Teach the Value of Money

According to a Charles Schwab Foundation’s Teens & Money Survey, only 48 percent of those surveyed said they understand how to budget their money, and 31 percent are already in debt to a person or company. It’s never too late to help your teenagers become financially literate and prepare them for the realities of adulthood. Walk them through the necessary steps to become financially solvent from making a budget to monitoring their credit. Here are some ideas to get your teenagers started. Create a Budget Your teens’ budget may vary depending on if you give them a fixed allowance to

READ MORE

Courts look to the importance of dads by favoring joint custody

There is a saying: “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad”. This is especially true for dads who are divorced or in the process of divorcing. In definition, the terms father and dad are the same, but their implications have evolved over the years. The main difference is that a father is biological while a dad’s relationship is emotional, caring and nurturing. It is harder to commit to becoming a dad and play an active role in your child’s life. And in divorce, it is even more challenging to work with a

READ MORE

A Dad’s Power of Example

There are more than 70.1 million fathers in the US with 24.4 million involved in raising children under the age of 18, according to fatherhood government statistics taken in 2012. Approximately 1.96 million were single fathers; 16 percent of custodial single parents were men; 189,000 were stay-at-home dads, raising over 369,000 children. The growing trend is joint custody being awarded to both parents. The importance of a father’s presence in the life of their children is gaining ground. According to fatherhood.gov, “When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform better

READ MORE

Home Paternity Tests Fill the Shelves in British Pharmacies, and U.S. Companies Following Suit

Recent scientific advances have consistently revealed the awesome power of DNA to unlock mysteries of the human condition. Some breakthroughs are indisputably landmarks: the advent of DNA “fingerprinting” databases, the mapping of the human genome, and of course…widely available home paternity tests? Yes, the ability to harness the dynamic force of DNA has moved beyond the laboratory and into the home. And, for those wondering just where junior got those blue eyes, a non-intrusive paternity kit available in a handy little package may be just what they are looking for. British Firms Cashing In Recently, Britain’s largest chain of pharmacies,

READ MORE

The Importance of Fathers

Four decades later, after research and hundreds of studies, statistics show that fathers who are active in their children’s lives largely determine their future success. Better social life, grades at school, and future achievements may result when there is a dad in a child’s life. In the article, “Why Kids Need Their Dads” by Steve Loyd, fathers’ contributions to their children’s wellbeing are explored: 1. Involved Dads = Successful children Dads effect their children from birth onward. According to studies by the Father Involvement Research Alliance, babies are more emotionally grounded; toddlers are better problem-solvers; and school-age children adapt better

READ MORE

The Father-daughter relationship: How to stay connected after divorce

The father-daughter relationship has far-reaching impact on a daughter’s psychological well-being and identity, even though it is a subject that is one of the most understudied. Although a daughter usually spends more time with her mother, her sense of self is often connected to how her father views her. Children crave stability and attachment, and girls have a strong desire for authentic connection. An adolescent girls’ need for emotional closeness can be seen in an in-depth analysis found in Carol Gilligan’s renowned book Meeting at the Crossroads: The Landmark Book About the Turning Points in Girl’s and Women’s Lives. Gilligan

READ MORE

Unemployed Dads Face Increased Likelihood of Divorce

Facing unemployment in this tough economy is challenging for anyone. For men, who still often feel the social pressure of being the primary breadwinner, it can be especially difficult. Families likely face financial strain and increased stress; a recent study also indicates that divorce is more frequent among couples where men are unemployed. The study published in the American Journal of Sociology found that the unemployment of men, even more so than dissatisfaction with the relationship, is a predictor of divorce. Husbands who were unemployed were both more likely to have wives who left them and more likely to initiate

READ MORE

Paternity: The Importance of Establishing a Legal Father for Your Child

Paternity is a legal term that means fatherhood. In the state of Missouri, if parents are married, the husband is automatically considered to be the father of a child born during the marriage. But, children whose parents are not married have no legal father unless the parents establish paternity. Around 40 percent of children in the United States are born out of wedlock, and in most cases these children are just as loved, well adjusted and healthy as those born to married parents. Yet, they do face one challenge that children with married parents do not: there are significant disadvantages

READ MORE

Unmarried Fathers May Lose Parental Rights in Missouri

A child usually benefits from having two parents involved in his or her life. A mother or father’s parental rights should therefore only be terminated in rare circumstances, when the best interests of the child are fully considered and truly require it. But a current legislative proposal aims to make it easier for the parental rights of unmarried fathers to be terminated. If fathers fail to meet certain conditions, HB 1258 would allow adoptions to go forward without the father’s consent. The bill has already passed the Missouri House. Background of the Missouri Adoption Bill The bill was drafted in

READ MORE

Relationships

Because our law firm focuses exclusively on family, we have a deep understanding of the way that relationships affect your client’s lives. These articles address a variety of topics and provide interesting perspectives on the ways in which different issues can hurt and help relationships.

Affairs

Is the reason people have affairs is that they want to stay married?

“The reason people have affairs is that they want to stay married,” contends Noel Biderman, chief executive of Avid Life Media Inc., which operates AshleyMadison.com, the world’s largest online hookup site for married people. “There’s a lot at stake in a marriage such as social status, jointly owned property, maybe children. A divorce might be messy, even difficult depending on the laws.”In Japan, according to a recently conducted survey, 84 percent of Japanese women believed an affair worked as a plus for their marriage. However, extramarital affairs are not new to Japan, the nation that invented the geisha in its

READ MORE

Affairs happen in happy marriages: What are we looking for?

It was once thought that only people in unhappy marriages have affairs. But this is not necessarily the case in marriages today. It turns out that “happy” is not the sufficient antidote to having an affair. One of the factors pushing people away from happy marriages to having affairs is the tight, companionable, completely “merged” nature of the modern marriage, according to therapist Esther Perel, who is described as the nation’s “sexual healer,” an updated Dr. Ruth, as described in a recent New York Times profile. She is the author of Mating in Captivity, which says that in seeking comfort,

READ MORE

Relationships

Is the reason people have affairs is that they want to stay married?

“The reason people have affairs is that they want to stay married,” contends Noel Biderman, chief executive of Avid Life Media Inc., which operates AshleyMadison.com, the world’s largest online hookup site for married people. “There’s a lot at stake in a marriage such as social status, jointly owned property, maybe children. A divorce might be messy, even difficult depending on the laws.”In Japan, according to a recently conducted survey, 84 percent of Japanese women believed an affair worked as a plus for their marriage. However, extramarital affairs are not new to Japan, the nation that invented the geisha in its

READ MORE

Can politics ruin a marriage?

When you are a democrat and your spouse a republican, can it lead to marriage woes? Discover how politics could break up your happy home. Most married couples would like to think that nothing could possibly come between them. This is why it is not uncommon to find a couple who has opposing political views. They likely never figured politics could get in the way of their love, but many couples find the divide created by politics, especially in the current political climate, is too deep for them to reconcile. However, does a disagreement over politics really have the power

READ MORE

4 Ways to Save Your Relationship Before Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is associated with flowers, chocolates and romance. For many couples, though, Valentine’s Day could mean a break up. Statistically, couples are more likely to break up in February than in April through November (the two weeks before Christmas are also a popular time to split). While some may suspect that the numbers are due to the stress of gift-buying, clinical social worker Alexis Auleta tells Bustle that holidays force couples to take stock of their relationships and more closely examine existing feelings of unhappiness and uncertainty.If you find yourself facing these tough questions as Valentine’s Day swiftly approaches,

READ MORE

Affairs happen in happy marriages: What are we looking for?

It was once thought that only people in unhappy marriages have affairs. But this is not necessarily the case in marriages today. It turns out that “happy” is not the sufficient antidote to having an affair. One of the factors pushing people away from happy marriages to having affairs is the tight, companionable, completely “merged” nature of the modern marriage, according to therapist Esther Perel, who is described as the nation’s “sexual healer,” an updated Dr. Ruth, as described in a recent New York Times profile. She is the author of Mating in Captivity, which says that in seeking comfort,

READ MORE

How to Successfully Buy a Place Together

There are many milestones in relationships: the first date, the first kiss, saying I love you, meeting the parents and so on. While many of these are important and can even be a little stressful, one of the biggest steps is making the decision to buy a home together. Not only can this add a level of permanence to the relationship, but it also can create an even stronger bond by making the subtle change from “my” or “your” place to “our” place. Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a home together, there are a lot of things to

READ MORE

One Answer to the War on Poverty… Marriage

Sometimes old ideas are the best ideas says Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Kathleen Parker. In an article, “To defeat poverty, look to marriage” she contends that the “luck factor” demands attention when assessing the success and failures of the War on Poverty initiated some 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. When it comes to the fortunes and misfortunes of people, things such as natural gifts of appearance, athleticism, intelligence, musical talent, etc. play a role. Added to the mix is that the really lucky ones are born into stable, educated families with financial security. Then, those who

READ MORE

The True Cost Of Addiction Extends Far Beyond Money

The story of Erick Lindgren epitomizes the extreme highs and life-threatening lows that result from addiction. Lindgren, a professional poker player, has earned $10 million in his 15-year career playing tournaments and live games all over the world. But his other gambling ventures, particularly sports, caused him to simultaneously accumulate about $10 million in debt in that same time period. The 37-year-old husband and father of one child checked himself into a rehab facility in Newport Beach, California at the beginning of 2013. He also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His reputation quickly changed from All-American success story to lying,

READ MORE

Technology

Technology is advancing every day. The affect it has on family law has been growing just as fast. From before the case, to discovery, during the case and even after, technology can both positively and negatively affect the outcome of any case. The articles below highlight information that could help you properly use technology during your family law case.

Technology in Family Law

Best Practices for Authenticating, Presenting & Disputing Digital Evidence

Below is a summary on best practices for authenticating, presenting and disputing digital evidence in court.  This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic. Considering that the facts of every circumstance is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on the admission of digital evidence. a. Applicability of Federal Rules of Evidence to ESI Issues and laws regarding family law are generally state-specific. Still, the Federal Rules of Evidence are often mirrored

READ MORE

Show your ex is cohabitating through cell phone usage

So your former spouse is in a new relationship?  If you are paying your ex maintenance, also known as alimony in some states, there is no reason for your ex to remarry and, as a matter of fact, it gives your ex every reason not to remarry, if he or she wants to continue to take your money. In order to terminate maintenance based on allegations of cohabitation, a showing of more than just living together is required in most states. This is complicated to say the least. For cohabitation to be sufficient to reduce or terminate maintenance, it must

READ MORE

Technology management for children in future divorce decrees?

Joint physical custody is becoming more and more the norm in today’s society. Since no one parent has primary custody of the child and since the child usually spends half the week living one lifestyle and half another, technology management may seem impossible. It is often said that co-parenting with an ex and managing technology use in children are two of the greatest challenges in the modern parenting world. Also, research indicates that technology use for children can be addictive. When there is no primary parent in charge, a child can be living in an ongoing cycle of addiction and

READ MORE

Pros and Cons of Using Computer Forensic Experts in Divorce and Family Law Cases

Use of Computer Forensic Experts in Divorce & Family Law In many family law matters, social media evidence and electronically stored information can become critical in a family law case.  For example, financial information regarding income, marital property and debt may all be stored electronically.  In other cases, valuable evidence can also be found on social media relative to child custody.  For this reason, a party may need to consider hiring a computer forensic expert in their divorce or family law matter. Below are some of the pros and cons to hiring a computer forensic expert: The Pros: The advantages

READ MORE

Email & Text Message Evidence in Litigation

Email & Text Message Evidence in Litigation Kirk C. Stange * Special thanks to Alicia Kapolis and Primrose Mungwari for helping prepare these materials. Court Rules Many computer and electronic discovery issues are covered by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, it is also vital to check state and local rules of civil procedure. Below are various applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Fed. R. Civ. P. 1001(1) – Writings and recordings include computers and photographic systems. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(C)– Obligates parties to provide opponents with copies of or descriptions of documents,

READ MORE

Electronic Evidence in Divorce and Family Law Litigation

The conventional ways to obtain information in divorce and family law proceedings are well known: (1) Interrogatories; (2) Requests for Production; and (3) Depositions. Typically, interrogatories are aimed at gathering initial information and facts of the case that the opposing party could not recall without reference to particular documents. Interrogatories in conjunction with Requests for Production then serve to produce the traditional sources of information for a divorce or family law attorney.  Traditional staples include: (1) Bank Statements; (2) Individual Tax Returns; (3) Corporate or Partnership Tax Returns; (4) Mortgage Statements; (5) Rental or Lease Agreements; and (6) Telephone Records.

READ MORE

E-Mail & Text Message Evidence in Litigation

Email & Text Message Evidence in Litigation Kirk C. Stange * Special thanks to Alicia Kapolis and Primrose Mungwari for helping prepare these materials. Court Rules Many computer and electronic discovery issues are covered by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, it is also vital to check state and local rules of civil procedure. Below are various applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Fed. R. Civ. P. 1001(1) – Writings and recordings include computers and photographic systems. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(C)– Obligates parties to provide opponents with copies of or descriptions of documents,

READ MORE

Non-Traditional Sources of Electronic Evidence

There are lots of non-traditional sources of electronic and social media evidence that can be important to a divorce or family law case. Do you suspect your spouse of having an affair? Do you suspect that your spouse is using marital resources on prostitutes or gambling? There are ways of getting ample ESI relative to these areas. One source that you might be missing is that of dating websites. These sites not only send email notifications to users, but can also send text messages and may use other applications, such as Facebook, to allow users access to updates. These sites

READ MORE

Identity Theft and Divorce: 4 Ways to Protect Yourself

No one says “I Do” while thinking the marriage won’t last but, unfortunately, statistics show that divorce is the result for at least three couples out of every 1,000 who marry. Although Fox News reports that the U.S. divorce rate steadily decreased from 4.0 per 1,000 in 2000 to 3.6 in 2011, the numbers demonstrate that not every marriage is permanent.Getting a divorce is a difficult time in general. It’s hard to reconcile yourself to the thought that the person you once trusted most is now someone you need to be cautious of. As Jennifer Wallis, the Vice President of

READ MORE

Social Media and Family Law

Twitter ban and jail time for party harassing judge in custody case

A 34-year-old woman has been banned from using Twitter as part of her sentence for stalking and harassing Pennsylvania Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy. Sadiyyah F. Young was sentenced to 11 ½ to 23 months in the county jail, to be followed by three years’ probation, after she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of stalking, forgery and identity theft. In addition, she was ordered to have no contact with Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy and several social workers as a condition of her sentence The sentence was part of a negotiated guilty plea agreement accepted by Judge William Carpenter of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Young,

READ MORE

Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Other Photo and Video Sharing Apps Becoming More Popular in Family Law

Photo and video sharing apps are becoming increasingly popular.  As with other social media avenues, these apps can often provide important evidence in a divorce, child custody and family law cases.  Below is a description of some of the most popular photo and video sharing apps: Snapchat is a photo messaging, social media tool. Unlike other services, Snapchat seeks to provide impermanence. Users can share photos, record video, and add text for distribution to one or more recipients. Those shares are set to self-destruct or disappear up to 10 seconds after sharing. The app also includes features which require the

READ MORE

How can Linkedin pages help in a divorce?

With the growing popularity of social media, online accounts are becoming more useful when it comes to family law cases. With social media outlets such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more, a lot of information can be found online that can help in a family law or divorce case. Linkedin is one social media site that can also become important. Parties can list their job history, dates of employment, position title and job duties on their page. They can also list their education and other achievements and certifications that they may have received. Some parties go on LinkedIn just

READ MORE

Judge DQ’d from divorce for trying to friend a party on Facebook

A Florida divorce case is getting quite a bit of attention. According to an opinion by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Florida, the judge in this case, Florida Judge Linda D. Schoonover, sent a friend request to one of the parties, Sandra Choice. Upon advice of counsel, Chace did not accept the friend request. The attorney for Chace later alleged that when she did not accept Judge Schoonover’s friend request, the judge retaliated by giving her an unequal portion of the marital debt, plus gave her husband, Robert Loisel Jr., a larger alimony award. The Court of Appeals

READ MORE

How does your online social media presence affect your divorce?

The divorce process is often muddied with a number of issues – all of which are saturated with heavy emotions and stress. Property division, child custody and visitation rights are just a few subjects that are a part of the process. In the midst of it all, many individuals fail to consider how angry comments on Facebook or Twitter might affect their divorce. If you are dealing with the end of your marriage, you may want to reflect on the online social presence of you and your former partner. According to the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers,

READ MORE

Facebook Discovery in Divorce and Family Law: How To-s

In many divorce and family law cases, a party might determine that evidence from Facebook is important in their case as it relates to a variety of issues, including property and debt division, child custody, spousal misconduct or a variety of other issues. a. Subpoenaing Facebook for Relevant Records Once you and your attorney have decided that social media content will be or could be important to your divorce or family law case, your attorney generally has several initial options: First, they can obtain the consent of the other party to produce the requested data. Second, they can attempt to

READ MORE

Social Media Evidence What Is Discoverable and Advising

Social Media Evidence: What Is Discoverable and Advising Clients What is Discoverable? There are numerous social networking sites out there including: Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram; YouTube; Pinterest; and a variety of others. People often use these websites daily, which contain a treasure trove of information. The reality is that an increasing number of individuals use social media webpages to communicate with others, share their opinions and personal details through posts, photos and videos and to even get news and information. In this day and age, a competent lawyer realizes their duty to stay up-to-date regarding social media use and discovery.

READ MORE

Steve Nash case shows how the use of Twitter in a custody case can become important

Celebrity gossip is mostly a matter of he said she said. NBA star, Steve Nash, knows this all too well after fighting a difficult child support case with Ex-Wife, Alendra Amarilla. The couple married in 2005 and ended in 2010. The five year long marriage provided the former couple with two 10 year old twin daughters and 4 year old son. After a lengthy three years after the announcement of the divorce, the two are still trying to solve matters involving violations of the joint custody agreement. The custody agreement states civil communication about the other party would be spoke

READ MORE

Does Twitter cause infidelity & divorce? Is it yes, no or something in between?

According to Amanda Hess, staff writer for Slate, “A new study says Twitter causes infidelity and divorce.” Hess replies, “Don’t believe it.” Amanda is referring to a study led by University of Missouri School of Journalism doctoral student Russell Clayton. Recently published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, the report contends that Twitter can “be damaging to users’ romantic relationships.” Clayton concluded, “Users should cut back to moderate, healthy levels of Twitter use if they are experiencing Twitter or Facebook-related conflict.” Amanda Hess, counters, ” Is your Twitter use threatening your marriage? Who Knows?” Her reasoning is that the study

READ MORE

Same-Sex Couples

Effect of Windsor

Understanding Windsor Summary courtesy of the Political Science department at Texas A & M: “In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court held Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional because it violated principles of Equal Protection by treating relationships that had equal status under state law differently under federal law. The majority opinion was authored by Justice Kennedy and joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissented. Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for purposes of all

READ MORE

Battle over same-sex marriage in Utah heats up

Utah state attorneys filed their opening argument to the federal appeals court on Monday, Feb. 4, 2014, examining the state’s same-sex marriage ban. State attorneys contend it is within Utah’s right to define marriage as it chooses. Utah’s same-sex marriage ban was passed by 66% of voters in 2004. Although the brief states that U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby did not give “proper deference to the choice of Utah’s citizens” when he struck down the ban in the December 20, 2013 ruling, the primary basis of the state’s 120-page argument focuses on the contention that the optimal environment for

READ MORE

The property division process’ effect on same-sex divorce in Illinois

Even though the divorce process is similar for heterosexual and same-sex couples in Illinois, same-sex couples still face unique challenges. When couples divorce, one of the most difficult parts about the process is this division of assets. Those who entered into a same sex marriage who now want to end their union face similar challenges because these marriages are subject to the same property division laws in Illinois as heterosexual marriages. This occurred after counties in Illinois were ordered to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses under legislation that was signed into action in June of 2014, states USA Today. Property

READ MORE

Same sex divorce in Illinois

Along with the legalization of same-sex marriages in the state of Illinois comes the need to understand same-sex divorce. Since June 1, 2014, the state of Illinois has allowed and recognized same-sex marriages. For many couples, this was a most joyous day and The Chicago Tribune noted that numerous gay and lesbian couples chose to marry that day or soon thereafter, some even converting their existing civil unions to marriages. The state law allows for couples with previous legal civil unions to use the date that the civil union was created as their official marriage date. While for many people,

READ MORE

Family Law Violence

Mutual Spousal Abuse Allegations

In high conflict custody battles, allegations of drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence are commonly raised. Other allegations can also be brought into these cases regarding mental illness and/or personality disorders. All of these allegations can ultimately have a bearing on child custody. In many cases, a party might use spousal abuse allegations as a basis for asking for sole legal and sole physical custody. They might also cite spousal abuse for a basis for the other parent having supervised or limited visitation with the children. These allegations can be difficult to substantiate, which can leave courts and parenting

READ MORE

Restraining Orders, Protective Orders and Injunctive Relief

Restraining orders, protective orders and injunctive relief can be an important component of child custody cases in situations where abuse and neglect is alleged. In some instances, obtaining this kind of relief in certain states can be problematic when there is an existing custody order that is in place. In many of these instances, a parties’ best option might be to file a motion to modify and/or make a hotline call. Regardless, below is a description of restraining orders, protective orders and injunctive relief: 1. Restraining orders: A temporary court order issued to prohibit an individual from carrying out a

READ MORE

Hearsay Statements of Child Abuse Victims

Admissibility of Statements of Children Relative to Sexual Abuse In child custody cases involving abuse, including sexual abuse, the statements of a child might be the best evidence of the abuse. In these cases, courts are often hesitant to bring a child into a courtroom to testify about the abuse. When other parties come into the courtroom to testify as to what a minor child reported, a hearsay objection is commonly invoked. By definition, statements made by a child to third parties are hearsay statements. However, children’s statements concerning physical or sexual abuse are often admitted into evidence over an

READ MORE

Fertility and Surrogacy

The Brave New World of Custody in Assisted Reproduction

1. Custody of Embryos and Frozen Sperm Below is a summary of some of the issues that can take place when trying to determine which spouse gets custody of shared embryos in divorce proceedings. a. New Technology and the Law New medical technology has allowed many women the ability to get pregnant, which was not possible a few years ago.1 However, new technology has created new legal and ethical issues that state law has not appropriately addressed in most circumstances. b. Case Examples In Litowitz v. Litowitz, a couple had two embryos formed with donor eggs, and the husband’s sperm,

READ MORE

Actor Jason Patric fights for custody of his son & sperm donor rights

“The Lost Boys” actor Jason Patric is in a heated battle with his ex-girlfriend to determine whether certain sperm donors should be granted parental rights.Patric took his case to California lawmakers after the ruling of a judge stated that he had no rights to his son Gus, age three, who was conceived with ex-girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber, through in vitro fertilization. The couple’s views differ on what role Patric was to play in the child’s life. Patric said he signed an “intended parent” document and spent significant time with his son until his access was cut off by Ms. Schreiber. Schreiber’s

READ MORE

Infertility solutions and the risks involved

Prospective parents struggling with conception should know what may be causing their issues and how to address them, as well as possible legal risks involved. For many people living in Illinois, it is a dream to have a family and raise children. However, it is not a simple dream to achieve for everyone. There are a number of reproductive deficiencies and health problems that can prevent one or both spouses in a marriage from being able to conceive a child naturally. For people facing this kind of situation, it is important for them to know the signs that they should

READ MORE

How to establish a successful surrogacy arrangement

Surrogacy offers a wonderful pathway to parenthood for couples unable to conceive or carry a child. However, unless you’re careful, legal pitfalls can doom the arrangement from the start. For couples who cannot have children naturally, advances in reproductive technology have led to new horizons in overcoming infertility. One such advance – in vitro fertilization (IVF) – allows couples who struggle with fertility to have biological children. For those unable to carry the child to term, surrogacy is a promising pathway for bringing a son or daughter into the world. What exactly is surrogacy? In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, a

READ MORE

Surrogacy Agreements: The Latest Case Law and Drafting Tools

Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Law According to a 2014 New York Times article, there is no federal surrogacy law, and state laws vary wildly. Seventeen (17) states have laws permitting surrogacy, twenty-one (21) states have no law or published cases regarding surrogacy, in five (5) states surrogacy contracts are void and unenforceable, and in Washington D.C. surrogacy contracts carry criminal penalties.1 The results of such wide-ranging laws from state to state can be catastrophic. In one story of the effect of state laws on surrogacy contracts, experienced surrogate mother Crystal Kelley executed a surrogacy contract with intended parents in

READ MORE

Kansas Court ruling: Sperm donor ordered to pay child support

A Kansas sperm donor who tried to help a lesbian couple by making his donation five years ago has found himself caught in the middle of a child support case and is now asked by the state to pay child support. William Marotta says he signed documents waiving his parental rights, but Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi disagrees. Marotta is ordered to pay child support on grounds that he failed to conform to Kansas law, which states that a licensed physician must be involved in an artificial insemination process. Documents show that the lesbian couple performed the artificial

READ MORE

Mediation and Collaborative Law

Differences between mediation & collaborative law

Most parties would choose an out-of-court settlement versus a contested court hearing/trial. Parties do not want to be a part of the costs of a contested trial and emotional havoc. This is what leads lots of folks to inquire about mediation. Mediation sounds less emotional and financially taxing. Parties that reach a settlement out of court might also be in a better place to be able to move on with their life and co-parenting with their ex spouse. Also, the idea of collaborative divorce sounds appealing to many parties as well. The term “collaborative” sounds similar to mediation to most.

READ MORE

Consider whether collaborative divorce may be a good alternative for you

On behalf of Kirk Stange Collaboration is a dignified divorce process involving mutual respect and creative solutions. Collaborative divorce is an alternate way to get divorced without the usual negativity of traditional divorce negotiation or litigation. Collaborative law was invented by a Minnesota lawyer named Stuart Webb, who had tired of the adversarial nature of traditional divorce. Many attorneys have since received special training in the collaborative process and are representing spouses in divorce throughout the nation and even in some other countries. Collaborative divorce basics The underpinnings of collaborative divorce are respect, honesty and creativity. Persistence can also be

READ MORE

Collaborative Divorce Versus Uncontested Flat Fee Divorce

Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Fixed Fee, Uncontested Divorce When many see these terms, they think they mean the same thing. To many individuals, collaborative divorce is the same thing as an uncontested, flat fee divorce. The really is that these are not one in the same. The difference is also much more semantics. Some legal professionals may offer flat rate, uncontested divorce services where there may be minimal assets, there are no kids and/or where there is one-hundred percent agreement on all terms related to the divorce. In many of these cases as well, one party has an attorney,

READ MORE

Collaborative Divorce Process

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE PROCESS I. The Collaborative Process-Overview Collaborative divorce is a voluntary, contractually based alternative dispute resolution method that utilizes interest-based negotiation techniques that allow parties to reach an agreement respectfully and without a third party adjudicator. The Collaborative model has as its core element an agreement that no participants, neither lawyers nor clients, will threaten or resort to court intervention during the pendency of the collaborative work; all efforts take place entirely outside the court system. Other essential elements of the Collaborative process include: identification of the goals and interests of the parties; full and complete disclosure of relevant

READ MORE

Collaborative divorce: Role of the divorce coach

In collaborative divorce, the divorce coach is a mental health professional who assists divorcing spouses through impasses in communication and emotional turmoil in the negotiation process. A divorce coach is a mental health professional who may be a social worker, therapist or psychologist. Divorce coaches receive special training in collaborative divorce to help divorcing people get through negotiations in which they have pledged to conduct themselves with honesty, dignity and respect. But that positive behavior can be difficult during a time of trauma and sometimes anger and resentment or even guilt. The divorce coach can help a spouse to process

READ MORE

When To Negotiate And When To Litigate During Divorce

During the emotional and psychological turmoil of a divorce, both parties may look towards an out-of-court settlement versus proceeding with contested litigation. Couples seeking to end their relationship will need to consider whether to settle out of court or to litigate in court with potential advantages and disadvantages of either choice. Judicial Oversight If parties cannot settle their family law matter, this will leave the decision in the hands a family court judge, an impartial figure who will not bring the same attitudes and convictions into a case that you hold. Milinda Reed, divorce attorney and writer for NetPlaces, states

READ MORE

Weighing Your Options: When Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Appropriate In Family Law?

Below are some advantages and disadvantages to alternative dispute resolution in divorce and family law matters: Advantages Parties can participate in alternative dispute resolution prior to filing. This allows both sides to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. Especially in the context of dissolution where child custody and support are at issue, alternative dispute resolutions may help the parties’ to avoid increased animosity that sometimes results in court proceedings. Participating in mediation or arbitration may result in the parties forgoing proceedings in a formal court setting altogether. A skilled mediator may be able to suggest alternatives and achieve

READ MORE

How to Make Mediation Work

Mediation is a helpful tool that helps parties come to a settlement agreement. The process of mediation allows for both parties to openly discuss all of the issues surrounding their family law case in order to make important decisions voluntarily.1During mediation, a qualified mediator assists both parties to come to an agreement by discussing different options for settlement and helping each party to better understand the viewpoints of one another. Mediation sessions can be joint sessions where both parties are present or private caucuses where the mediator meets with each party individually. Unlike arbitration where the ultimate decision is outside

READ MORE

Asset Division

Illinois divorce law is uniquely pet-friendly

A recent law provides a new approach for judges facing disputes over who gets the family pet. The Insurance Information Institute says that 67% of U.S. households have pets, citing the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey. With the commonality of divorce, what will happen to a beloved pet when a marriage ends can be an agonizing question for many, especially when children who love that dog or cat are involved. But its not just the kids who are passionate about pets. With high student loan debt and other financial challenges, many young adults are putting off parenthood and focusing their

READ MORE

Division of Family Limited Partnerships

Family limited partnership interests can be a significant issue in high asset divorce cases.  Whether through equitable division, or states that still engage in some form of community property, dividing interests in family limited partnerships in divorce can present challenges.  The Internal Revenue Service can also look negatively upon Family Limited Partnerships in certain circumstances. To read more on this topic, you can also read another similar article by Kirk C. Stange titled: Family Limited Partnerships and Divorce. a. Tax Consequences of the Division   Creating a Family Limited Partnership (FLP) yields tax benefits and non-tax benefits. As far as

READ MORE

Common Issues In Dividing a Family Business

Often, the largest asset in a case where one spouse owns a business is the business itself in divorce, and often the biggest assets of that business are not liquid. Marital property and debt is to be divided in accordance with the law in your particular state. However, in a general sense, in a dissolution of marriage action, assets and debts have to be divided in a just manner or as set forth by the laws in your state. In order to achieve a just division, it is vital to have a business properly valuated to achieve that end. Common

READ MORE

Divorce & Estate Plans

Divorce is an emotional and financial roller coaster and estate planning may not be one of your priorities, but if steps are not taken to update your estate plan, your assets could be distributed to those you would not expect, even your ex. Here are some steps you can take to insure that your estate plan reflects your current status and wishes. Create New Will – Sometimes it is wise to revoke your old will and make a new one. If you don’t have a will, now is the time to do so. Also, if you have a living trust

READ MORE

Missouri divorce: Dividing large assets requires proper planning

Dealing with divorce in Saint Louis County is one of the hardest experiences a person may have to go through. When there is a great deal of money and property involved, it can be even more difficult as one spouse may try to hide assets or intimidate the other spouse into accepting less than they may be entitled to. It is important for a spouse to make a complete list of the marital property, determine the value of that property and then negotiate for a fair distribution of the couple’s assets. Listing marital property The first thing that a spouse

READ MORE

Is your spouse hiding assets pursuant to a divorce?

Are you concerned that your spouse failed to tell you about assets during your dissolution process? If you are, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney in the area. A lawyer can help you uncover assets that were not revealed during the discovery process. To begin, a seasoned lawyer will request important documents, including tax statements, bank papers, pay stubs and other pertinent information. With your attorney’s help, you may uncover a plethora of hidden assets. There a few steps that can help you get to the bottom of the issue. First, you will need to retain all

READ MORE

Pre-nup Agreements: Avoiding the Top Mistakes

Pre-nup Agreements: Avoiding the Top Mistakes Kirk C. Stange * Special thanks to Primrose Mungwari & Emily Donaldson for helping prepare these materials. 1. Failure to Uncover Critical Financial Information Broadly, the overall goal of any prenuptial agreement is to define the terms and conditions of property and debt division, spousal support, and how attorneys’ fees should be paid if the marriage of the parties’ ends in a dissolution or legal separation. “Premarital agreement” means an agreement between individuals who intend to marry which affirms, modifies, or waives a marital right or obligation during the marriage or at separation, marital

READ MORE

Trust Decanting and Divorce

In high asset divorce matters, the division of trust assets can be a significant issue.  In complex cases, trust decanting can be an important issue in which parties should be aware of the concept.The purpose of decanting includes the ability to address change in circumstances; protect tax treatment of a trust; modifying administrative provisions, such as restriction on investment powers; granting a beneficiary a special power of appointment; reducing administrative costs; altering trusteeship provisions or appointing fiduciaries; extending the termination date of as trust; converting a non-grantor trust to a grantor trust or the reverse; changing a trust governing law;

READ MORE

Should I let my spouse keep the house?

Illinois spouses who are getting divorced should learn how to protect themselves and their credit before they agree to let their partner keep the marital home. It is not uncommon for a marital home to be the single biggest asset that a Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma couple has. A home can also be something to which people assign a lot of emotional value. When the spouses end up making the choice to get divorced, it only stands to reason that the decision about what to do with the house can be complicated. Selling the home is a common scenario

READ MORE

Who Lets the Dog Out?

Anybody that has pets understands how special they are to a family. Pets are loved, give love and, at times, truly are a member of the family. Because of this attachment that many feel with their animals, when a couple divorces or breaks up, which spouse gets custody of the pet can be hotly contested. A 2006 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that 25 percent of attorneys noted an increase in pet custody issues – 90 percent of the disputes were over the family dog. While many families consider the family pets children, they are not

READ MORE

Equitable Distribution versus Community Property

Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma both follow equitable distribution models of property distribution in divorce proceedings. However, analyzing how community property and equitable distribution work, and the differences, is helpful for parties going through a divorce. In states with community property, community property is defined as “all property acquired by the spouses during the marriage belongs not to either spouse individually but to a third entity, marital community.”[1] The fact that the legal title rests within the community; there is no future expectancy, which rests upon divorce or death. The community holds a real legal title interest.[2] When a divorce

READ MORE

Contempt

Some Missouri Case Law Involving Contempt of Court

Contempt of court actions are brought in family law matters when one party alleges that the other has willfully failed to comply with a prior court order.  These are common cases that occur after the completion of a divorce, paternity case or other family law matter. Below is summation of some Missouri case law involving litigated contempt of court cases.  These examples can help provide a greater understanding of how these causes of action work in Missouri. I.  Contempt of Court for Unpaid Child Support Stuart v. Ford, 292 S.W.3d 508 (Mo. App. S.D. 2009): The Southern District affirmed the

READ MORE

Missouri Law Involving Contempt of Court

Below is some Missouri law involving contempt of court. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law.  These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic. Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is vital to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance.  However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. Elements of a Contempt Case and Punishment Stuart v. Ford, 292 S.W.3d 508 (Mo. App. S.D. 2009): i. To establish a prima facie case of civil contempt, the complaining party must prove the following: 1. The contemnor’s obligation

READ MORE

Unmarried Parents

Children of Unmarried Parents

Creating Legal Relationships Paternity The filing of a paternity or parentage action is one method a person may establish a legal relationship with a child of unmarried parents. A more thorough discussion of paternity or parentage actions can be found in Section III of these materials and will not be fully reproduced in this section. However, some key points are important to restate and expand upon in the discussion of these types of cases and the actual litigation of these cases within the State court systems. In our prior discussions concerning unwed fathers, the assumption was that the unwed father

READ MORE

Birth Father’s Law

The Rights of Unwed Father’s History & National Trends Ask any family law practitioner informally to compare the number of divorces for which they are engaged versus the number paternity actions for which they are engaged and you will likely be informed it is nearly close to equal. Since 1960, the number of children born out of wedlock or to unwed parents has increased from five percent in 1960, to 32 percent in 1995 and 41 percent in 2013.1 Since 1960, and in an effort to keep up with this dramatic shift from the traditional family structure and state laws

READ MORE

Birth Father’s Law

III. The Rights of Unwed Father’s A. History & National Trends Ask any family law practitioner informally to compare the number of divorces for which they are engaged versus the number paternity actions for which they are engaged and you will likely be informed it is nearly close to equal. Since 1960, the number of children born out of wedlock or to unwed parents has increased from five percent in 1960, to 32 percent in 1995 and 41 percent in 2013. Since 1960, and in an effort to keep up with this dramatic shift from the traditional family structure and

READ MORE

Legal Summaries

We have a wide variety of legal summaries to help you understand the law behind certain family law topics in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Missouri Law Summary on Guardianships

Below is some Missouri law involving guardianships. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic. Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. A guardian is a person appointed by the Probate Court to have the custody of a minor or of an incapacitated person. A limited guardian is a person whose powers as guardian are limited by the court to certain specified

READ MORE

Vocational and Lifestyle Experts: Getting to Court to See Your Side on Support Issues

I. Employability Assessments in Divorce – What You Need to Know The purpose of evaluation is to assess current and/or future employability and wage earning capacity for the court. It can include the presentation of a vocational plan outlining specific details as to how the person will return to the job market (e.g., training time, cost, appropriate programs, entry/ceiling earnings upon plan completion, and job availability). What are the limitations of this process? This procedure is not a method for the diagnosis or treatment of psychological problems nor does it allow for career counseling over a period of time (i.e.,

READ MORE

Missouri Law Summary on Name Changes for Minor Children

Parents are allowed to change their child’s name. Both parents must give written consent in order for a court to grant the name change. Missouri courts will consider a name change to be proper by applying a best interest of the child test. According to Missouri case law, the court looks at three factors: (1) the child’s age; (2) the potential embarrassment or discomfort the child would experience when his or her surname is different from the custodial parent’s name; (3) and how the name change will affect the child’s relationship with their parents.1 A. Adoption After the adoption proceedings,

READ MORE

Legal Summary: Family Law Mediation Bootcamp

BASIC MEDIATION SKILLS Understanding Conflict Conflict, or more specifically, interpersonal conflict, is a fact of life. It often emerges when people are stressed. It is said that people are the most stressed during major life events, including death, marriage, imprisonment, and divorce. Understanding conflict during the divorce process is crucial to a successful family law mediation because it will help the mediator understand each person’s feelings, actions, desires to take a position and it will guide the mediator to work through those issues and assist the participants in working towards an amicable, workable agreement. Conflict Definitions and Alternatives Conflict is

READ MORE

Facebook Evidence Used in More Divorces

A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) revealed that social networking sites have become a hot source for evidence. Over eighty percent of family law attorneys surveyed found that they have seen an increase in the amount of divorces using social networking evidence over the past five years. Facebook was found to be the biggest online source, followed by MySpace and Twitter. Without thinking, many people have given clues about their infidelity, habits, and lifestyle on their Facebook profile. This can be in the form of public postings, chats, and most frequently through photos. Online activities

READ MORE

Facebook Evidence and Divorce

I. Introduction Technology is advancing every day. The affect it has on family law has been growing just as fast. From before the case, to discovery, during the case and even after, technology can both positively and negatively affect the outcome of any case. These new sources can be used to target pieces of information beyond those found in the traditional sources of information. A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) revealed that social networking sites have become a hot source for evidence. Over eighty percent of family law attorneys surveyed found that they have seen

READ MORE

Missouri Legal Summary on Adoptions

I. OVERVIEW – WHO CAN BE ADOPTED AND WHO CAN ADOPT? Adoption is the legal process that constructs a parent/child relationship between an adult and child, who might not be related by blood. “There are three sets of participants in an adoption: the petitioners (the adoptive parents, who are seeking to adopt the child); the child to be adopted; and the birth parents (the biological parents of the child to be adopted).”1 The adoption process serves to create a legal relationship between the adoptive parent and child and sever any legal right of the biological parents.2 There may be several

READ MORE

Legal Ethics in Family Law

A. Confidentiality Concerns A Lawyers’ duty of confidentiality is one of the profession’s “core values.” The ethics duty of confidentiality extends far beyond the evidentiary attorney-client privilege. The duty generally covers any information learned during the attorney-client relationship (not just communications to or from a client). Even information in the public record can be subject to this ethical duty of confidentiality. Lawyers must assure that paralegals under their supervision comply with this ethics duty of confidentiality. ABA Model Rule 5.3(a)(b) – “With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer: a partner, and a lawyer

READ MORE

Custody Options, Procedures & Forms

While the laws can vary by state, legal custody refers to the legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child. Examples of major decisions include: where the child will go to school, the type of education, the form of religious upbringing, and non-emergency medical decisions. Legal custody options generally include sole legal custody and joint legal custody. The parent who has sole legal custody generally has the final saying in making major decisions on behalf of the child. These include decisions regarding education, religion, and medical. A parent having sole legal custody still has to confer with

READ MORE

DIRECT AND CROSS-EXAMINATION OF EXPERTS IN DIVORCE

a. Real Estate and Valuation Experts – Areas Ripe for Examination One of the major issues in a divorce is dividing marital or community property, and it can easily become a source of conflict. Before dividing an asset, you need to know what its worth by completing a valuation process for the property. Valuation is especially important for real estate, namely the marital home, because it’s often one of the most valuable assets owned by a couple. Being familiar with the basics of valuation methods for real estate and the role of an appraiser can help you reach a fair

READ MORE

Dividing Stock Options in Divorce

I. Community vs. Separate Property A stock option is a contractual right to purchase stock during a specified period at a predetermined price. Increasingly, corporations are granting stock options to employees as compensation for services that have been, or will, be performed. The increasing use of employee stock options has translated into expanding litigation concerning whether stock options are marital property, and if so, how they should be valued and divided Most states are equitable division states. However, analyzing how community property and equitable distribution work, and the differences, is helpful for parties going through a divorce with stock options.

READ MORE

Discovery in Divorce – The Ultimate Guide for Paralegals

I. NEW DISCOVERY LAWS, RULES, AND PROCEDURES YOU NEED TO KNOW A. Discovery Rules Update In 2015, the first time since 2006, amendments regarding e-discovery were added to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). These e-discovery amendments included: a limitation on the scope of the discovery; a requirement obligating parties to address the preservation of electronically stored information (ESI) during the initial conference; and, a modification to spoliation sanctions for ESI. The amendments were designed to simplify and promote efficiency and cooperation between parties during the discovery process. FRCP 26(b)(1) altered the scope of discovery by adding the requirement

READ MORE

Deposition Strategies In Divorce

DEPOSITION STRATEGIES IN DIVORCE Handling the Divorce Deposition in Comparison with Other Depositions Anyone who can be a witness at trial can be deposed, including the parties, their experts, and lay witnesses. Additionally, witnesses who may not be available at trial can also be deposed to preserve their testimony. Many individuals may possess relevant information – family members, teachers, counselors, and others can contribute valuable information. Do not take a deposition until you have a firm outline and strategy for accomplishing our goals with the particular witness. Otherwise, you may not be successful in undermining or limiting the impact of

READ MORE

Depositions & Cross Examinations: Best Practices & Strategies

I. Researching the Opposing Party’s Experts in Divorce The deposition of an expert witness is the culmination of the opposing party’s defense or prosecution theory of the case. Before taking an expert’s deposition, the parties should have completed fact discovery-interrogatories answered, documents obtained, lay witnesses deposed. Presumably, your opponent’s expert witness has been advising the opposing attorney about documents to be requested in the course of written discovery and about oral discovery questions that should be asked of the lay witnesses, so that the fact evidence necessary to the expert’s opinions has been established. The expert’s opinions are being offered

READ MORE

DISCOVERING UNDISCLOSED/HIDDEN ASSETS – TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

Probably the best tool for tracking down cash and other hidden assets are tax returns. This is because even a spouse who is attempting to hide assets or income through their business was probably not considering such action seven, five, or even three years ago. The first line of 1040 can be important because it provides a social security number which can be used for other searches. The W-2’s for the spouse as an employee can also be important. How does the past compare to the present? Bank Statements and Credit Cards can also prove to be equally valuable. There

READ MORE

Business Valuation in Divorce

I. Overview of Business Organization Structures When a married couple gets a divorce and one of the spouses owns a business that business is often an asset owned by the marriage and the value should be divided. A business can be created in different forms. The most common forms are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. The form of the business entity can have effects on taxation, ownership, and how it is divided. A sole proprietorship is a self-owned, unincorporated business. If a party is the owner of a sole proprietorship, then the business is dividable upon dissolution of

READ MORE

Attacking Real Estate & Valuation Experts in a Divorce

I. Understanding the Valuation Process and the Law One of the major issues in a divorce is dividing marital or community property, and it can easily become a source of conflict. Before dividing an asset, you need to know what its worth by completing a valuation process for the property. Valuation is especially important for real estate, namely the marital home, because it’s often one of the most valuable assets owned by a couple. Being familiar with the basics of valuation methods for real estate and the role of an appraiser can help you reach a fair and reasonable agreement

READ MORE

Annual Law Update on Family Law

Child Custody Davis v. Davis, 582 S.W. 3d 100 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 2019): Husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage requesting that he and Wife have joint physical custody of their son. Wife requested in her counter-petition for dissolution of marriage that she be awarded maintenance. Following a bench trial, the Circuit Court characterized its judgment as awarding sole physical custody of the couple’s child to Husband and denied Wife’s request for maintenance. Wife appealed. The Court held that Husband and Wife were awarded joint physical custody. However, Trial Court characterized custody of the child as sole physical

READ MORE

Advanced Divorce Law

I. Case Law Update: The Latest Decisions Affecting Your Practice A. Same Sex Marriage and Custody It is important to first establish the same sex cases that have been brought in Missouri courts concerning child custody during and post Obergefell. In McGaw v. McGaw, appellant, Melissa McGaw filed a motion to determine the parent-child relationship, custody, and visitation rights with respect to the two children to whom she is not biologically related to. The children in this case were born at a time when Melissa was involved in a romantic relationship with the children’s biological mother, respondent Angela McGaw. At

READ MORE

Adoption & Surrogacy Agreements

A. Open Adoption and Ongoing Contact Agreements 1. Drafting Tips, Checklists and Forms Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of all parental rights to another individual or couple. The adoptive parent(s) has the same legal rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. Open adoption occurs when there is some form of communication or contact between the adoptive family, the adopted child, and the birth family after the adoption has finalized. Contact and communication can range from an infrequent exchange of letters and pictures, perhaps through a neutral third party, to supervised or unsupervised visits between the

READ MORE

Working With Experts in Divorce

I. Types of Divorce Experts and What They Do A child custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health expert, usually a psychologist, evaluates a family and makes a recommendation to the court for custody and visitation or a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests. The court may assign an evaluator to you or may allow you to choose from a list of evaluators. Regardless of who chooses the evaluator and who pays for the evaluation, the evaluator should be neutral and should not have a patient-therapist relationship with anyone in the family either before

READ MORE

Settlement Negotiation, Trial Strategies, and Drafting Final Orders

1. Settlement Negotiations In negotiations, there are multiple strategic goals that need to be met in order to be successful. They include: Determining whether a bargaining zone exists – that is, whether a mutually beneficial agreement is possible – and identifying the range of possible agreements; Changing the scope or emphasis of the negotiation in a way that makes a transaction mutually beneficial when otherwise there would be no possibility of finding a mutually beneficial agreement, or in a way that makes an agreement even more mutually beneficial than it otherwise would be; Exercising negotiating power to capture some or

READ MORE

Valuing and Dividing Complex Assets: Stock, Retirement Plans and More

III. Valuing and Dividing Complex Assets: Stock, Retirement Plans and More A. Stock Options: How to Value, How to Distribute and When Stock option is a contractual right to purchase stock during a specified period at a predetermined price. Increasingly, corporations are granting stock options to employees as compensation for services that have been, or will, be performed. The increasing use of employee stock options has translated into expanding litigation concerning whether stock options are marital property, and if so, how they should be valued and divided. In evaluating whether an employee stock option constitutes a “property” interest, the standard

READ MORE

Preparing for Mediation

1. What is mediation? During mediation, a qualified mediator assists both parties to come to an agreement by discussing different options for settlement and helping each party to better understand the viewpoints of one another. Mediation sessions can be joint sessions where both parties are present or private caucuses where the mediator meets with each party individually. Unlike arbitration where the ultimate decision is outside of the parties’ hands, mediation allows the parties to come to an agreement together which leads to a more amicable situation. 2. Selecting the Mediator First things first, when a client is deciding on participating

READ MORE

Mistakes in Valuing and Dividing Real Property

Top Mistakes in Valuing and Dividing Real Property: A. Farmland and Divorce Traditionally, farms are acquired by gift or inheritance by or through family members. These family farms tend to be owned by multi-generational farming families that may or may not have formal or informal agreements regarding the allocation of operating expenses and the division of profits. This means that, while the younger generations may have ownership interests in the growing crops or livestock, the older generations may actually own the land. Traditionally, legal title is protected and, even in long term marriages, the non-owning spouse may not acquire any

READ MORE

Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Overview In Child Custody Litigation

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?A definition of alienation is a child who expresses, freely and persistently, unreasonable negative feelings and beliefs (such as anger, hatred, rejection and/or fear) toward a parent that are significantly disproportionate to the child’s actual experience with that parent.[1] This can happen when two parents are divorcing, or when the parents are fighting over custody.[2] Parents may try to alienate the children for various motives, including revenge, power, fear, jealousy, or due to mental disability.[3] Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) has three main elements: (1) rejection or denigration of a parent that reaches the level of

READ MORE

Key Strategies to Get Your Evidence Admitted & Keeping Theirs Out

1. Strategies for Getting Evidence Authenticated Beyond Set Criteria GuideThere are multiple methods for getting your evidence authenticated for your case. The conventional methods consist of interrogatories, requests for production or admission, and depositions. Normally, any evidence that is presented in the course of any of these aforementioned discovery methods is presented to the court as being authenticated because the opposing counsel included it in their responses or production of evidentiary material. There are also multiple other methods of authenticating your evidence. These methods include judicial notice, accumulation of evidence, stipulations negotiated with opposing counsel, and using motions in Limine.

READ MORE

Imputed Income in Divorce

A. What is “Imputed” Income? Imputed income is income that a court assigns or credits to a party for the purpose of child support and / or spousal support. Income is typically imputed in situations where a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. However, in some cases, courts have imputed income in situations where the evidence suggests a party has the potential to earn higher income, but has simply not taken a position or searched for a position that would permit that party to maximize his / her earnings. Additionally, some courts have imputed income to the property held by

READ MORE

How to Modify Custody and Visitation Orders

Many parents who go through a divorce and child custody dispute are left feeling defeated when everything has been finalized. This is especially true for parents who did not receive primary custody. But it’s important to remember that a finalized child custody agreement is not necessarily a permanent one. As time goes on and circumstances change, child custody orders can be modified. This can occur either as the result of a consent order or a motion filed with the courts. The consent order is essentially an agreement to change the current agreement. Say, for instance, that a child has been

READ MORE

Key Strategies to Get Your Evidence Admitted & Keeping Theirs Out of it

1. Strategies for Getting Evidence Authenticated Beyond Set Criteria Guide There are multiple methods for getting your evidence authenticated for your case. The conventional methods consist of interrogatories, requests for production or admission, and depositions. Normally, any evidence that is presented in the course of any of these aforementioned discovery methods is presented to the court as being authenticated because the opposing counsel included it in their responses or production of evidentiary material. There are also multiple other methods of authenticating your evidence. These methods include judicial notice, accumulation of evidence, stipulations negotiated with opposing counsel, and using motions in

READ MORE

Legal Summary: Handling Ethical Issues in Family Law Practice for Paralegals

A. AVOIDING CONFLICTS OF INTERESTConflicts of interest can pose a serious problem if not properly handled from the start of a lawyer-client relationship in divorce and family law matters. A conflicts search is a necessary part of any practice. All attorneys need to have conflict of interest software that screens whether the firm has a conflict of interest. If your firm does not have conflict software, or other appropriate safety measures in place, they are playing with fire. There are several kinds of inexpensive conflict of interest software available that any lawyer can purchase and implement. The process of checking

READ MORE

Missouri Summary on Divorce Procedures, Initial Steps and Motions

A. Recouping Attorneys’ Fees All attorneys should have a written fee agreement with their client before undertaking any representation in a divorce or family law matter. Sample fee agreements can often be obtained through your local bar. The Missouri Bar has sample fee agreements here: http://members.mobar.org/pdfs/fdr/fdrsamples.pdf. (Sample Form 1 is a good example for divorce litigation.) Fee agreements should include clauses such as Scope of Services, Hourly Rates, Advances Fee Amount (Initial Deposit), Litigation Expenses, Frequency of Billing Statements, Discharge and Withdrawal, how long file will kept after case ends, and a disclaimer against estimates and guarantees. RULE 4-1.5: Fees

READ MORE

Paternity Actions

Paternity is a legal term that means fatherhood. In many states, if parents are married, the husband is automatically considered to be the father of a child born during the marriage. But, children whose parents are not married have no legal father unless the parents establish paternity. Around 40 percent of children in the United States are born out-of-wedlock, and in most cases these children are just as loved, well adjusted and healthy as those born to married parents. Yet, they do face one challenge that children with married parents do not: there are significant disadvantages to lacking an official

READ MORE

Legal Summary: Dividing Trust Assets in Divorce

a. Overview of Irrevocable vs. Revocable Trusts A trust is an agreement that is held by one person (trustee – person who manages the trust) at the request of another (settlor – a person who creates and usually provides the funding for the trust) for the benefit of a third party (beneficiary – the person that receives the income or principal from the trust). Estate planning is accomplished in two ways: a (1) revocable trust; or an (2) irrevocable trust. A person can establish value of trust assets either way. When a settlor creates a revocable trust, this person has

READ MORE

Sole Custody vs. Shared Parenting

If sole physical and legal custody is awarded, that parent gains has substantially more physical time and has the ability to make final decisions for the couple’s child.1 The “custodial parent” typically has much more control over parenting decisions, from day-to-day parenting choices to deciding where and how a child will be educated.2 These arrangements are most common when the parents live far apart, do not communicate well, or when one parent has been deemed unfit.3 Though the child will usually live most of the time with the parent who has sole custody, visitation schedules and parenting plans will provide

READ MORE

FAMILY LAW & SAME SEX MARRIAGES – DIVORCE, CUSTODY, SUPPORT, & EMBRYOS – WHERE IT STOPS – NOBODY KNOWS

(1) Same Sex Marriage & Custody Same sex divorce cases will no doubt be litigated with greater frequency after the United States Supreme Court’s decision granting the right of same sex couples to marry in Obergefell. Where a same sex couple is married and divorcing, and the child is born during the marriage, custody cases between same sex couples are presumably to be resolved using the “established legal framework applicable to married couples.” In terms of same sex couples who are not married, there is a question about whether a same sex partner who is not a biological parent can

READ MORE

Missouri Summary on Legal Considerations in Family Law

A. Annulment vs. Separation vs. Divorce: I. Annulment By annulling a marriage, the court makes it so it is as if the marriage never existed from its very beginning. While many states have specific statutes on annulment, Missouri does not explicitly use the term annulments in statutes. Missouri does, however, reference a “declaration of invalidity of marriage” in § 452.300 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. There are many situations where seeking an annulment (an invalidity of the marriage) is the best choice. One reason to seek an annulment is if the two parties are too closely related. While State v.

READ MORE

Missouri Law Summary: Understanding the Pros and Cons of Joint Custody

Below is some Missouri law on child custody (and joint custody in particular). This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic.Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is vital to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. 1. Statutes:   RSMo. § 452.375. 1. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: (1) “Custody” means joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody or sole physical custody or

READ MORE

Illinois Law Summary: Guardianships and Voluntary Relinquishment

Below is some Illinois law involving guardianships and voluntary relinquishment. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic.Given that the facts of every circumstance is different, it is critical to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. The case of Thomas v. Barnes, 20120 Il. App. (1st) 112957, is important on this topic (In re the Guardianship of Tatyanna T.).  This case is from the Appellate Court of the First Judicial District in Illinois wherein

READ MORE

eDiscovery| Apps and Emerging Technology You Need To Know

KIRK C. STANGE, ESQ. * Special thanks to Emily Donaldson, Alicia Kapolis and Primrose Mungwari for helping prepare these materials. ENCRYPTED TEXT MESSAGING PLATFORMS Recovering evidence becomes more complex and difficult when dealing with ephemeral data. Applications such as Vaporstream, Wickr and Confide and the like provide attorneys with extensive discovery and authentication problems. Vaporstream is a mobile application capable of sending electronic communications that are encrypted in transit, and are not stored in the carrier’s infrastructure, the sender’s device, or the recipient’s device. Once the message is read, they are deleted and it no longer exists. These messages cannot

READ MORE

Tax Reform: Its Impact on Divorce

I. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – An Overview of What’s Changed Treatment of Pass-Through Income From a Business The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has created some substantial revisions to the tax code in regards to pass-through businesses. A pass-through business is designed to avoid paying double taxation by not paying income taxes at the corporate level. Instead, corporate income is allocated among the owners of a pass-through business, while income taxes are only levied at the individual owner’s level. Some common examples of pass-through business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations. The TCJA

READ MORE

Missouri Family Law Update 2015

Below is a list and synopsis of some important family law appellate decisions that have come out in Missouri in 2014 and 2015.  These cases help shed light on how many family law matters are being decided in Missouri. However, given that the facts of every circumstance is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. Child Support Abernathy v. Abernathy, 445 S.W.3d 638 (Mo. App. E.D. 2014): Father appealed arguing that the agency correctly determine that the diminution of Mother’s child care costs constitutes a substantial and continuing change in circumstances sufficient to warrant

READ MORE

Legal Summary: Failure to Fully Anticipate and Minimize the Tax Consequences of Divorce

Tax-Free Asset Transfers – 26 USCA § 1041 (a) General rule. No gain or loss shall be recognized on a transfer of property from an individual to (or in trust for the benefit of): (1) a spouse, or (2) a former spouse, but only if the transfer is incident to the divorce. (b) Transfer treated as gift; transferee has transferor’s basis. In the case of any transfer of property described in subsection (a) (1) for purposes of this subtitle, the property shall be treated as acquired by the transferee by gift, and (2) the basis of the transferee in the

READ MORE

Negotiating, Drafting, Modifying, and Enforcing Marital Settlement Agreements

a. Obtaining Full Financial Disclosure Probably the best tool for tracking down cash and other hidden assets are tax returns. This is because even a spouse who is attempting to hide assets or income through their business was probably not considering such action seven, five, or even three years ago. The first line of 1040 can be important because it provides a social security number which can be used for other searches. The W-2’s for the spouse as an employee can also be important. How does the past compare to the present? Bank Statements and Credit Cards can also prove

READ MORE

Email Evidence in Divorce Litigation

Collecting Email Evidence in Divorce What to Look for and Where to Find it (Quickly) The overarching federal statute is 18 U.S.C. §1030 or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute. Section 1030 prohibits (a) intentionally accessing a computer without authorization from any protected computer if the conduct involved an interstate or foreign communication; (b) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accessing a protected computer without authorization, or exceeding authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthering the intended fraud; (c) intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, causing damage. A protected computer

READ MORE

Smartphone and Social Media Evidence in Divorce Litigation

a. Discovery How-to’s and Pointers The conventional ways to obtain information in divorce proceedings are well known: (1) Interrogatories; (2) Requests for Production; and (3) Depositions. Typically, interrogatories are aimed at gathering initial information and facts of the case that the opposing party could not recall without reference to particular documents. Interrogatories in conjunction with requests for production, then serve to produce the traditional sources of information for a divorce attorney. Staples include: Bank Statements; Individual Tax Returns; Corporate or Partnership Tax Returns; Mortgage Statements; Rental or Lease Agreements; and Telephone Records. These documents can then be used in conjunction

READ MORE

Missouri Law Summary on Custody Modifications

Below is some Missouri law on motions to modify. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic. Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. 1. Statutes: RSMo. § 452.410 – Custody, decree, modification of, when. The court shall not modify a prior custody decree unless it has jurisdiction and it finds, upon the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior

READ MORE

Rules, Procedures, and Changes You Need to Know

1. Rules and Procedures for Getting Evidence Authenticated & Admitted Fed. R. Evid. 901 states that to satisfy the requirement of authentication, the proponent must, (1) produce evidence, and (2) demonstrate that the evidence produced is sufficient to support a finding that the evidence is what the proponent claims it is. The following list is a non-exclusive list of examples of evidence that satisfies this requirement: Testimony of a witness with knowledge; Non-expert opinion about handwriting; Comparison by an expert witness or trier of fact; Distinctive characteristics and the like; Opinion about a voice; Evidence about a telephone conversation; Evidence

READ MORE

TAX TREATMENT AND CONSEQUENCES OF DIVORCE

a. Taxation of Asset Transfers 26 USCA § 1041: Transfers of property between spouses or incident to divorce (a) General rule. No gain or loss shall be recognized on a transfer of property from an individual to (or in trust for the benefit of) – (1) a spouse, or (2) a former spouse, but only if the transfer is incident to the divorce. (b) Transfer treated as gift; transferee has transferor’s basis. In the case of any transfer of property described in subsection (a) – (1) for purposes of this subtitle, the property shall be treated as acquired by the transferee

READ MORE

Illinois Law Summary: Educational Expenses and College Costs

Below is some Illinois law involving educational and college expenses. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. This is a topic that comes up regularly in family law matters involving children. Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is imperative to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance.  This summary, however, does help provide some important information on this topic. Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/513, in Illinois, courts may make provision for the educational expenses of the child or children of the parties, whether of minor or majority age. Educational expenses may include, but

READ MORE

Illinois Law Summary: Abuse and Temporary Child Custody

Below is a law summary regarding child custody cases in Illinois where abuse and temporary custody motions can interplay.  This is an issue that can come up in child custody cases in Illinois. Given that the facts of every case is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any individual situation.  However, this summary does provide some important legal information on this topic. Pursuant to 750 ILCS 60/103, in Illinois, abuse is defined as physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.  It does not include reasonable direction of a minor child by

READ MORE

Missouri Bar Annual Law Update: Family Law 2018

Child Support Beermann v. Jones, 524 S.W.3d 545 (Mo. App. W.D. 2017): Husband and Wife dissolved their marriage in November of 1998. At that time, they had one child, who had been born in 1997. Pursuant to the terms of a previous modification judgment, Husband agreed that he would pay 100% of his son’s college expenses. However, in January, 2015-about eight months before the son would begin attending college at the University of Missouri-Husband filed a motion to modify his child support obligation, seeking a reduction of $560 to either $355 or $158 once his son started college, on the

READ MORE

Missouri Bar Annual Law Update: Family Law 2019

I. Child Support Swanson v. Hernandez, 544 S.W.3d 315 (Mo. App. E.D. 2018): Father had three child support orders for three separate children of three separate mothers. The first order (S.M.S.) required father to pay $350.00 per month and it was initially ordered in New York, but was registered in Georgia after the mother and child moved there. After the move, New York recognized the Georgia registration and divested itself of jurisdiction under the UIFSA because none of the parties reside in New York. The second order (S.R.S.) required father to pay $450.00 per month and was ordered in Missouri.

READ MORE

Legal Summary: Motions in Divorce – With Examples

I. Emergency Motions A.  Restraining Orders & Habeas Corpus A temporary restraining order (TRO) prevents irreparable injury. In some cases, there could be a concern as to custody or assets that could necessitate a TRO. In Missouri, TROs consist of a three-step proceeding consisting outlined in Rule 92 and Chapter 526, RSMo: 1. A temporary restraining order may be issued by the court at the request of the plaintiff without notice to the other party only if the plaintiff can show that immediate and irreparable injury or loss will result before the opposing party can be heard and only if

READ MORE

Missouri case summary on paternity cases

Below is some Missouri law involving paternity cases. This summary includes some relevant statutes and applicable case law. These are just some examples of reported cases on this topic. Because the facts of every circumstance is different, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding any particular circumstance. However, this summary does help provide some important information on this topic. Paternity Cases Examples In re the Marriage of Brown, 310 S.W.3d 754 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010): In In re the Marriage of Brown, there was one unemancipated child who was born prior to the marriage. Although Husband’s name was

READ MORE

Missouri Law Summary on Termination of Parental Rights

When do parents terminate their parental rights? Can the court terminate the parents’ rights? What factors are considered when terminating parental rights? In Missouri, termination of parental rights are divided into three broad categories: (1) termination of parental rights by consent; (2) contested termination of parental right where the filing of the termination petition is mandatory; and (3) contested termination of parental rights where the filing of the termination petition is discretionary.1 Generally, the court must find at least “one ground for termination has been proven “by clear, cogent and convincing evidence,” and the court must also find by a

READ MORE

You can also read more Stange Law Firm, PC articles at:

Listen to Internet radio with Stange Law Firm PC on BlogTalkRadio.

You can also read more Stange Law Firm, PC articles at:

To learn more about how our divorce lawyers can assist you, please set up your confidential consultation by calling or contacting us online. The family law attorneys at Stange Law Firm, PC are conveniently located throughout the Midwest.

Contact Divorce Attorneys in MO, IL, KS and OK in Saint Louis (Clayton, Ellisville, Belleville,
Maryville, St. Charles, Arnold & Elsewhere), Kansas City (Lee’s Summit and Overland Park),
Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa and beyond.


If you are looking to find and hire a divorce lawyer, contact us online or by phone to schedule a confidential consultation at
any of our convenient locations by calling 855-805-0595.

Prenuptial Agreements Line by Line

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Strategies For Family Law Illinois

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Strategies For Military Family Law

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Protect Yourself By Understanding Your Options and Knowing Your Rights

GET HELP NOW

MAIN OFFICE LOCATION

Stange Law Firm, PC

120 S. Central Avenue, Suite 450

St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105

Toll Free: 855-805-0595
Fax: 314-963-9191

DIVORCE HEADQUATERS APP

Contact Our Team

Family Law Legal Services At Your Fingertips

FEATURED ARTICLES FROM THE STANGE LAW TEAM

When you choose us, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or service. You get the resources of a large divorce and family law firm AND the attentive service of a local attorney.